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.


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”. Today, the original Pokanoket Tribe is alive and thriving in Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts, the original homeland of the Tribe.

Click on the map above used by Massaschusetts Public Schools showing “Pokanokeuk (1616-1675) and “Wampanoag (After 1676)”, illustrating how the name Pokanoket was replaced with Wampanoag. It also shows the Massachuseog Tribe being wiped out in the 1616 Great Dying before the English colonists arrived.

Click here for a guide to correct terminology for the New England Tribes.