|PLEASE NOTE: This page is a part of the Quoddy Loop Tour Guide, and is not sponsored by the Passamaquoddy Tribe, although the Tribe's input was solicited for content.
To contact the Tribe, please refer to the Other Passamaquoddy Resources.
The Quoddy Loop area of Maine and New Brunswick was once occupied exclusively by the Passamaquoddy, and related tribes. These people lived by their skills on the abundant natural resources of woods, mountains, and waters. Contrary to previous thinking, and as confirmed by archaeologists, the Passamaquoddy relied on the natural bounty of the sea and of inland forests and rivers throughout the year, dwelling mostly at the mouths of rivers, and traveling inland for game as the need arose.
When French explorers Siur deMonts and Samuel Champlain came to the area, they met the knowledgeable Passamaquoddy, who assisted them in their explorations here, before the French settlement on St. Croix Island failed and moved on to what is now the Annapolis Royal area of Nova Scotia.
Passamaquoddy took an active role in fighting alongside American Colonists against the British. In August of 1777, one Passamaquoddy exceptional marksman, Francis Joseph Neptune, is said to have stood on the shore in Machias, and -- at 3/4-of-a-mile to one-mile distant -- and with his flintlock rifle, shot and killed the captain of a British vessel. That, along with the uproar from American and Wabanaki forces, confused and routed the British, who hastily retreated, permanently vacating their attempts to control Machias. (Thanks to Tribal Historian Donald Soctomah [see Maine Public Radio interview of Donald Soctomah] and Chris Groden for this information.)
On the Pleasant Point Passamaquoddy Reservation there stands a monument (placed by the Daughters of the American Revolution) honoring the Natives who fought with the Colonists against the British.
Later, Loyalists to the Crown of England, who were fleeing the newly-formed United States, arrived in the area now known as St. Andrews. Eventually, the Loyalists displaced the Passamaquoddy, who settled on Indian Island, just to the south of Deer Island. After a time, Loyalists once again displaced the Passamaquoddy, who moved to an area of what is now Pembroke, and eventually settled at Sipayik (zih-'by-ig) -- known by English speakers as Pleasant Point, between Eastport and Perry, Maine. This location, and Indian Township, just above Princeton, Maine, were in modern times designated as state Passamaquoddy Reservations. (For more information, see Maine Public Radio interview of Hugh Akagi. Akagi is Chief of the St. Croix Schoodic Band of Passamaquoddy, and lives in what is now known as St. Andrews, NB.)
While the greatest portion of the Passamaquoddy population moved to the U.S. side of the border, some Tribal members remained in New Brunswick.
The Canadian government has historically failed to recognize Passamaquoddy presence there, despite efforts by Tribal members there to protect their lands. Recently, the Passamaquoddy have obtained recognition by the other First Nations in Canada, although government recognition has still not occurred.
Occupation of Passamaquoddy lands by Colonial and Loyalist settlers, and reservations forced upon the Tribe, established a bleak social dependency for a people who were used to self sufficiency. It was not until the Maine Land Claims Settlement Act that the Passamaquoddy's situation improved economically.
While there are still employment, social, and economic problems, the Tribe is better economically than prior to the Settlement. The tribe now owns some businesses, and leases facilities to others, which provides employment and income to the Tribe.
Recent events in St. Andrews have resulted in the Tribe vigorously pursuing recovery of their homeland there, which is, as of yet, unresolved. (See Quest for Qonasqamkuk.)
Passamaquoddy Tribal Government consists of multiple parts. Each reservation has its own government, consisting of a Tribal Council, a Governor, and a Lieutenant Governor. The two Passamaquoddy Reservations together have a Joint Tribal Council.
Tribal government is autonomous, with status similar to a municipality.
Passamaquoddy culture is related to other tribes of the northeast.
Hunting and fishing are time-honored skills, still practiced on Tribal lands.
The Passamaquoddy Language is still spoken by many members of the Tribe. Efforts at both reservation schools (Beatrice Rafferty Elementary School, at Sipayik), and at Sipayik's Waponahki Museum and Resource Center strive to increase the number of Tribal children who speak their native language.
Basketry, jewelry, wood-carved items, and canoe making are some of the skills that are practiced by tribal craftspeople who have widespread repute for their fine workmanship. Craft items can be found for sale at shops at the Pleasant Point Reservation and in the surrounding area, as well as elsewhere.
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