Facts about the Pennacook Native Indian
This article contains fast, fun facts and
interesting information about the Pennacook Native
American Indian tribe. Find answers to questions
did the Pennacook tribe live, what clothes did they wear
food did they eat? Discover what happened to the
Pennacook tribe with facts about their wars and
What language did the Pennacook tribe speak?
The Pennacook tribe spoke in the Algonquian language family
and were members of the Wabenaki Confederacy.
The name Pennacook comes from the Abenaki word 'penakuk'
meaning "at the bottom of the hill." The people
are also referred to as the Merrimack and the
What was the lifestyle and culture of the Pennacook
The Pennacook tribe were primarily fishers,
farmers and hunter gatherers. The Pennacook
mainly lived in wigwams made of birchbark but as
inter-tribal warfare increased they also lived
in fortified villages of longhouses. The 1600's
saw the French establish New France and
the English settled in the present-day US states of Maine,
Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts
encroaching on Pennacook lands. The Europeans
brought terrible diseases such as typhus, smallpox,
measles, influenza and diphtheria and a series
of epidemics killed nearly 75% of the Pennacook
people. The French and Indian Wars (1688-1763) raged for 75 years as France and
England fought for the new lands in North
Pennacook become allies of the French. The
French defeat in the wars and
inter-tribal warfare resulted in the dispersal
of the remaining Pennacook people who, by the
end of Queen Anne's War (1702-1713), had been
largely absorbed into the Abenaki who relocated to
Canada. The descendants of the Pennacook tribe
live amongst the Abenaki at St. Francis and
Wollinak (Becancour) in Quebec. Other Pennacook
descendents are based in Manchester, New
Hampshire and in Franklin, Massachusetts.
Where did the Pennacook tribe live?
The Pennacook are people of the Northeast Woodland Native
American cultural group. The location of their
tribal homelands are shown on the map. The
geography of the region in which they lived
dictated the lifestyle and culture of the Pennacook
tribe who primarily inhabited the Merrimack
The Northeast Woodland region extended mainly across
the New England States, lower Canada, west
to Minnesota, and north of the Ohio River
Land: Lush woodlands, rivers, ocean
Climate: The climate varied according to the
location of the tribe
Animals: The animals included
white-tailed deer, raccoon, bears,
beavers, squrrel moose, and caribou
Fish and Sea Mammals: Whales, Seal, Fish and shell fish
Crops: The crops grown in the area were corn
(maize), pumpkin, squash, beans and tobacco
Trees: Poplar, birch, elm, maple, oak,
pine, fir trees and spruce
Map showing location of the Northeast or
Woodland Indians Cultural Group
What clothes did the Pennacook wear?
The picture shows Chief Passaconaway and the
clothes worn by Pennacook Native Indians.
During the hot summer the Pennacook men
wore a breechcloth tucked over a belt that hung
to mid-thigh from the back with fringed leggings
that tapered towards
the ankle. Moccasins were made with a
long tongue and a high collar that could be
left up or folded down. Snowshoes were also worn during the winter. The
Pennacook women wore deerskin wrap-around skirts,
poncho style and also wore leggings. In the winter
cloaks or mantles were worn by both men and women. The
also wore highly distinctive, pointed or peaked hoods made from birch bark or
leather that covered the shoulder were
elaborately decorated with
feathers at the point.
What did the Pennacook tribe live in?
The Pennacook tribe lived in Wigwams, also
known as Birchbark houses - see the above
shelters were domed shaped or
pyramid shaped wigwams. A
Wigwam was built
using wooden frames that were covered with woven
mats, sheets of birchbark and animal skins.
Ropes were wrapped around the
wigwams to hold the birch bark
place. As time passed the
Pennacook started to build oval-shaped
Longhouses in fortified longhouse villages
surrounded by fencing to afford defence from
What did the Pennacook tribe eat?
The food that the Pennacook tribe ate included
included their crops of corn, beans and squash.
Fish such as sturgeon, pike, salmon and trout
were caught. Hunters provided meat from deer
(venison), bear, moose and smaller game like
squirrels and rabbits. Duck, grouse and wild
turkey also added to the variety of their food.
Their food also included vegetables, mushrooms,
nuts and fruits (cherries, blueberries, plums,
strawberries and raspberries). Maple syrup was
obtained from the sap of the maple tree.
What type of Transportation did the
Pennacooks use? Birch Bark Canoes
The Pennacook Native Americans built canoes made
from the bark of the birch trees over a wooden
frame. The lightweight Birch Bark canoes were broad enough to float in shallow
streams, strong enough to shoot dangerous rapids,
and light enough for one man to easily carry a canoe
on his back.
What weapons did the Pennacook use?
The weapons used by the Pennacook included
tomahawks, battle hammers, war clubs, knives,
bows and arrows, spears and axes.