Summertime in an Abenaki Village

29th August 2021 Dr. Beena

Ever since Allan wrote that story on Peace in Wintertime, Skowhegan, Maine, I have been intrigued. After I read about them on the website, I painted this picture from there and decided why don’t I write about them. Oddly, these indigenous people were called Indians😊. Please read why that happened. It is hilarious😊😊, well at least for us  real Indians.

History changed for the Native Indians after 1600. Native Indians lived in America 15,000 years ago, migrating from Asia. Abenaki Indians lived in New England and hence were called People of the Dawn. They saw the sunrise before the other Native Indian tribes. The Abenaki were comprised of different indigenous tribes who spoke a similar language and shared culture. They lived with nature getting their resources but ensured they were not depleted. A tribe consisted of several families who were related to one another. Different tribes would get together to celebrate a change of seasons and share stories. When there was a dispute, they would each tell their side of the story to a larger group. Consensus building was a crucial part of an Abenaki life.

My story about the painting is an early morning scenery in summer in an Abenaki village. Now, how do I know it is summer? Well, they have separate wigwams. As they led nomadic lives based on seasons, their wigwams need to be easy to assemble and disassemble. During winter, they lived in a longhouse. Yes, living in longhouses was a way of life😊. Hence, the natives of Sarawak have something in common with Native Americans😊.

In this picture, one can imagine the triviality of an early morning. A young mother carrying her child to the lake. I am curious about that pot carried by the other lady. Maybe some yummy breakfast πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰. The man on the right side could be calling his children to wake up for breakfast. Another child is daydreaming in his wigwam like me😊. The central fire pit was where they dry the leather, cook their meals and gather to listen to stories. Their history is not written but an oral tradition. Elders were highly respected and, the most respected was Sachem. Now a Sachem could be male or female. Sachem helped others to resolve disputes and did not order people around. The decision would be respected and accepted by others. Far away, in the sky, you can see birds. One is quite large. I made a mistake drawing the wings☹. Thus, in my story, the papa bird is carrying his baby bird on his back and, the mama bird is close by. They are heading to the village as they trust the villagers to tend to the injured baby bird and not cook them for breakfast😊😊. Did you see Zara the Warrior princess and Mika the Braveheart at the left lower corner😊? They alert the villagers when they see other tribe members. Now, how is that for a simple happy story😊. If we could learn some lessons from them, it would be invaluable.  Despite the diversity, there are more similarities in the way our ancestors lived. I would love to hear from our readers more on this😊. By the way, I did not use the word squaw for the female native American as that word is shrouded in controversy☹☹.

Before I sign off, how many of you played the game Red Indians and Cowboys when you were young? I was always the Red Indian and chased by cowboys ☹☹. Share your thoughts, please. Until the next time, bye for now.

12 thoughts on “Summertime in an Abenaki Village

  1. I am dumbstruck at the painting and at your vivid description of a people named after so far away from what we call home, ie India. Once upon a time I know I was one of them. Am surprised you too identified as an indian in your red Indian cowboy games. Oh we should play that as oldies once again. You paintings all have a serene relaxed feeling about them and it is easy to drift into oblivion when I envision myself in those places. Such a mood lifter. Love you for granting these moments of bliss.

    1. Hi Shobha

      Hmm we knew so little about Native American indians then and now. Am glad Allan throws new stuff in his writing. Then I need to look up what he meant. As I mentioned earlier painting has made me learn more about life. Hope that does the same to the readers. We need to keep our brains active rightπŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚.


  2. The Abenakis seemed far more progressive and civilised than our present societies. Their Sachem can be a man or woman – equal opportunity there. They settle their disputes amicably and accept and respect the outcome. No suing, counter suing, appealing, finding loopholes in the legal system etc. And they practise sustainability, making sure they don’t deplete their resources. We can certainly learn from them.

    1. Its truly remarkable how natural it was then to have practices when there were no judges, politicians or intellectuals to put policies. Just simple common sense.

  3. Beena .. Beautiful painting and the equally vivid description.
    Abenaki are among the Canadian First Nation too ( no longer called the Indians , which as we all know was a misnomer) .
    Mainly in Quebec , the French Canada .

    The painting. Excellent. πŸ‘πŸ’

    1. Hi Ramesh

      I loved writing about them as it was interesting to learn alot about their culture. In some ways the way of life is quite similar to the Natives of SarawakπŸ˜€. Other than being called Indians they don’t seem to share much with real Indians. What a misnomer by Columbus.

      Take care

  4. Thanks Beena for teaching me about the Abenaki Indians. So interesting to read about their culture and how they dealt with issues within the society. Very wise and shows how storytelling has been in existence for eons. I especially loved seeing Warrior Princess Zara and Braveheart Mika in their midst. Somehow they fit in:)

    1. Haha I enjoyed writing this. It was fun putting my gals into that story. Little pleasures in life.πŸ˜€πŸ˜€


  5. Beena,

    Thanks for this story. Coincidentally, you posted your musings while I was visiting some friends in Northern Maine, just a few miles south of the Canadian Border. That area was settled in the 1600s by the Acadians who came to the New World from France. Some of the Acadians ended up moving down south to Louisiana and that is where the Cajun “dialect” comes from. Northern Maine is beautiful!


  6. Simple and lovely – story and painting. It took me through so many emotions in 1 minute πŸ˜€
    I felt like I was wandering around that lake and observing everyone else. Mika and Zara complete the scene! I liked how you placed two smileys after writing that the birds were hoping to not be cooked!

    1. Hi Terry

      You know why I said that about the birds? Here if you catch a bird it will be cooked😣😣. Maybe more so in the villages..
      I was trying to imply trust between humans and animals is not easy. I have seen birds come very close to humans in many countries. Here the birds stay far away from us. Birds know who to trust.

      Glad you walked around in that Abenaki villageπŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚.

      Take care


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