/wahm'peuh noh"ag/, n., pl. Wampanoags, (esp. collectively) Wampanoag.
1. a member of a once-powerful North American Indian people who inhabited the area east of Narragansett Bay from Rhode Island to Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket at the time of the Pilgrim settlement.
2. the Eastern Algonquian speech of the Wampanoag people, a dialect of Massachusett.
[1670-80, Amer.; < Narragansett, equiv. to Proto-Algonquian *wa·pan(w)- dawn + -o·w- person of + *-aki pl. suffix, i.e., easterners]

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      Algonquian (Algonquian languages)-speaking North American Indians who formerly occupied parts of what are now the states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, including Martha's Vineyard and adjacent islands. They were traditionally semisedentary, moving seasonally between fixed sites. Corn (maize) was the staple of their diet, supplemented by fish and game. The tribe comprised several villages, each with its own local chief, or sachem.

      In 1620 the Wampanoag high chief, Massasoit, made a peace treaty with the Pilgrims, who had landed in the tribe's territory; the treaty was observed until Massasoit's death. Bad treatment by settlers who encroached on tribal lands, however, led his son, Metacom, or Metacomet, known to the English as King Philip, to organize a confederacy of tribes to drive out the colonists (see also King Philip's War). The colonists eventually defeated and killed King Philip and other leading chiefs, and the Wampanoag and Narragansett (Narraganset) were almost exterminated. Some survivors fled to the interior, while others moved to the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard to join kin who had remained neutral during the conflict. Disease and epidemics destroyed most of the indigenous people who lived on Nantucket, but Wampanoag people survive to the present, particularly on Martha's Vineyard.

      Early 21st-century population estimates indicated some 4,500 Wampanoag descendants.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Wampanoag — noun (plural Wampanoag or Wampanoags) Etymology: Narragansett, literally, easterners Date: 1676 a member of an American Indian people of Rhode Island east of Narragansett Bay and neighboring parts of Massachusetts …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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