The Abenaki (means “people of the dawn” or “easterners”) are a Native American tribe. They are one of the Algonquian-speaking peoples of northeastern North America. The Abenakis are original natives of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. After European colonists arrived, many Abenakis fled to Canada or moved in with neighboring tribes. Today, Abenaki Indians live on two reservations in Quebec and scattered around New England. Abenakis in the United States do not have a reservation. The Abenaki tribe is not federally recognized in the United States means Abenakis in the United States don’t have reservations or their own governments. The Abenaki of New England also have bands with chiefs, but they are unofficial.

Previously villages consisted of small birchbark buildings, called wigwams or lodges, and were about the size of a modern camp tent. Some Abenaki families preferred to build larger Iroquois-style longhouses instead. An Abenaki village contained many wigwams or longhouses, a meeting hall, and a sweat lodge. Many villages also had palisades (high log walls) around them to guard against attack. The Abenaki tribe was well-known for their birchbark canoes and their quillwork, beadwork and black ash baskets.

Official recognition by the US is important to the Abenaki tribe. They do not have hunting or fishing rights; they cannot sell arts and crafts under Indian craft laws; and other American Indians don’t always recognize or cooperate with them. The Abenaki want to be recognized as a true Indian tribe, but because their ancestors often hid from the Americans or fled into Canada, they cannot prove that they lived in New England continuously since the 1600’s.