Pokanoket is the name of the Massasoit’s tribe, not “Wampanoag”

The name of the tribe that the Massasoit Osamequin led at the time he met the Pilgrims in 1621 is often referred to as the “Wampanoag” when in fact that name did not exist at the time. The name “Wampanoag” was not used until the time of the King Philip War in 1675-76 to designate the group of tribes that fought against the English. It was later adopted by an assemblage of Christian Indians on the Cape in the town of Mashpee, which was never a tribe, when they formed the Wampanoag Indian Federation in 1928. The use of the original tribal name “Pokanoket” was discouraged or outright banned as a way of cleansing New England of the tribe who instigated the King Philip War, causing devastation of the English colony. Over the 18th and 19th centuries, the name “Wampanoag” replaced “Pokanoket” as the tribal name, often in combination with original tribal names such as “Seakonke Wampanoag” and “Mashpee Wampanoag” even though tribes by those names never existed until the 19th century. Today, the original Pokanoket Tribe is alive and thriving in Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts, the original homeland of the Tribe. Click here for a 17-minute YouTube video presentation.


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