Pequot Tribe

Pequot Indians

Pequot Indians watching Captain Mason's ships

This article contains interesting facts, pictures and information about the life of the Pequot Native American Indian Tribe of the Northeast woodland cultural group.

The Pequot Tribe
Summary and Definition: The Pequot people were a fierce and powerful tribe of hunter-gathers and fishers who inhabited the southeastern coast of Connecticut from the Niantic river to Rhode Island, living along the Pequot (now Thames) and Mystic Rivers. The Pequot fiercely protected their territory and were extremely hostile to the European colonists. This led to the conflict known as the Pequot War (1634-1638) and the near annihilation of the tribe.

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Facts about the Pequot Native Indian Tribe
This article contains fast, fun facts and interesting information about the Pequot Native American Indian tribe. Find answers to questions like where did the Pequot tribe live, what clothes did they wear and what food did they eat? Discover what happened to the Pequot tribe with facts about their wars and history.

What language did the Pequot tribe speak?
The Pequot tribe spoke in a related dialect of the Algonquian language family. The meaning of the name 'Pequot' is derived from the Algonquin word "pekawatawog or pequttoog" meaning "Destroyers", reflecting their ferocious reputation. The Pequot tribe were originally part of the Mohican (Mohegan) people from the upper Hudson River Valley in New York near Lake Champlain. During the early 1500's the people moved to the Thames River Valley in southeastern Connecticut and later split into two tribes, the Mohican and the Pequot. The Pequot tribe established their territory closer to the Connecticut coast.  

What was the lifestyle and culture of the Pequot tribe?
The Pequot raised crops of beans, corn and squash and were great fishermen. The Pequot were a powerful, highly organized tribe who lived in heavily fortified villages of longhouses or in temporary shelters of wigwams during the summer hunting season. The tribe had a strong political structure led by a grand sachem and the tribal council. The elders of the tribe were held in honor and took part in decision-making. The warlike Pequot were bitterly hostile to the early settlers and also to their other great enemies, the Narragansett tribe. The hostility erupted into the violent conflict known as the Pequot War (1634-1638) that included the Mystic Massacre when nearly 700 Pequot men, women and children died terrible deaths. The Pequot War ended in defeat for the Pequot and the Treaty of Hartford on September 21, 1638 saw the Mohican and Narragansett tribes given their lands. The surviving Pequot were only able  to find limited refuge with any other tribes and many were executed or sold as slaves to the West Indies. In the present day there are two small independent Pequot tribal nations in Connecticut, the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mashantucket Pequot.

 

Where did the Pequot tribe live?
The Pequot 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 Pequot tribe.

  • 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
  • Land Animals: The  animals included squirrel, white-tailed deer, raccoon, bears, beavers, 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 Northeast Woodland location - Pequot tribe

Map showing location of the Northeast or
Eastern Woodland Indians Cultural Group
and the Pequot Tribe

   

Susquehannock village of longhouses

Longhouse Village

What did the Pequot tribe live in?
The Pequot tribe lived in fortified villages of multi-family residences of
Longhouses in the winter, that were surrounded by strong palisades (fencing). In the summer when they went on hunting expeditions  they built a temporary domed or pyramid shaped shelter called a wigwam or wetu.

The Wigwam or wetu was built with wooden frames that were covered with woven mats, sheets of birchbark and animal skins. Ropes were wrapped around the wigwam or wetu to hold the birch bark in place 

Wigwam or Wetu

What food did the Pequot tribe eat?
The food that the Pequot tribe ate included the 'three sisters' crops of corn, beans and squash. All crops were planted, cultivated and harvested by women with the help of their children. The only exception was tobacco, which was tended by men. Fish such as sturgeon, pike and a variety of shellfish such as oysters, clams, lobsters and scallops were caught by these expert fishers. Hunters provided meat from deer (venison), moose, black bear and smaller game like squirrels and rabbits. Duck, wild turkey and grouse also added to their food supply. The Pequot food also included vegetables, nuts, mushrooms and fruits (blueberries, plums, strawberries and raspberries).

What weapons did the Pequot use?
The weapons used by the Pequot warriors included war clubs, tomahawks, battle hammers, axes, knives, bows and arrows. Their enemies were the Narragansett tribe.

What Transportation did the Pequot use? Dugout Canoes
Most Algonquian speaking Native Indians made birch bark or dugout canoes for transportation. Pequot Native Americans built heavy dugout canoes made from the from hollowed-out logs of large trees.

What Transportation did the Narragansett use? Dugout Canoes
Most Algonquian speaking Native Indians made birch bark or dugout canoes for transportation. Narragansett Native Americans built heavy dugout canoes made from the from hollowed-out logs of large trees.

What clothes did the Pequot wear?
Before the Europeans traded cloth with the Native American Indians the vast majority of the simple clothing worn by the Pequot people were made from animal skins or birchbark. The animal skins used to make their clothes included deer (buckskin) raccoon, beaver, otter and moose. The clothes of the men included long breechclouts, leggings, long cloaks and shorter shoulder to waist length mantles.  Pequot women wore wraparound skirts, tunics and cloaks in the winter. Their moccasins were made of one piece of hide with a high collar that could be left up or folded down. They decorated their bodies with paint and piercings and wore various ornaments and jewellery. Specially valued was "Wampum", finely crafted shell beads, used as a form of currency. The men wore Roach headdresses made of porcupine hair, the tail hair of the white-tail deer or moose hair, that was often dyed a bright red color. The headdress was attached to a scalp-lock and stood straight up from the head like a tuft or crest. Sometimes feathers were added as decorations.

 
 

 

Pequot History: What happened to the Pequot tribe?
The following Pequot history timeline details facts, dates and famous landmarks of the people. The Pequot timeline explains what happened to the people of their tribe.

Pequot History Timeline

  • 1500's: The Pequot tribe were originally part of the Mohican (Mohegan) people from Lake Champlain

  • 1500's: European explorers and traders make contact with the Pequot and trading for beaver furs begins

  • 1600's: The people split into two tribes, the Mohican and the Pequot

  • 1620: The Mayflower ship and the Pilgrims landed in the New World and the Massachusetts Bay Colony founded by John Mason

  • 1620: The Great Migration of English colonists and the encroachment of Native Indian lands begin

  • 1633: The Dutch and English establish trading posts in Connecticut and start claiming Pequot lands

  • 1633: The Massachusetts Bay Colony began to manufacture wampum, the shell beads that Eastern Woodlands tribes used for currency. Wampum had previously been controlled by the Pequot tribe

  • 1634: Warfare between the Pequot and their enemies the Narragansett

  • 1634: Epidemics of smallpox and measles are spread by the Europeans

  • 1634: The Pequot War (1634-1638). Deteriorating relations between the colonists and Native Indians results in the Pequot War. English colonists commanded by John Mason and their allies, the Mohican and the Narragansett tribes waged war against the Pequot who were led by Sassacus, a Pequot sachem

  • 1636: Connecticut was settled by colonists, led by Thomas Hooker

  • 1636: Rhode Island was settled by Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson

  • 1636: John Endicott attempts to get tribute payments from the Pequot and when these were not given he burns their village

  • 1636/7: Pequot Siege of Fort Saybrook and Connecticut River

  • 1637: The Mystic Massacre occurs on May 26, 1637. Captain John Mason and John Underhill launch a night attack on the large Pequot village of Misistuck, on the Mystic River in present-day Connecticut. Pequot men, women and children were burned in their homes and all survivors were killed. The total fatalities in the Mystic Massacre were 600700

  • 1637: The Great Swamp Fight (June 1637)when Pequot were cornered by the English

  • 1637: Survivors of the Great Swamp Fight, led by Sassacus, seek help from the Mohawk tribe in New York

  • 1637: The Mohawks kill Sassacus and his warriors and send the scalp of Sassacus to the English as a symbolic offering of Mohawk friendship

  • 1638: The Treaty of Hartford on September 21, 1638 ended the Pequot War. The Mohican and Narragansett tribes are given Pequot land. The majority of surviving Pequot were only able to find limited refuge with other tribes and were sold as slaves to the West Indies

Pequot History Timeline

 

Pequot

  • Interesting Facts and information about the way the people lived
  • The clothes worn by men and women
  • Description of the homes and the type of food the Pequot would eat
  • Fast Facts and info about the Pequot
  • Names of famous chiefs and leaders
  • Interesting Homework resource for kids on the history of the Native American Indians

 

Pictures and Videos of Native American Indians and their Tribes
This tribe was one of the most famous tribes of Native American Indians. Discover the vast selection of pictures on the subject of the tribes of Famous Native Americans such as the Pequot nation. The pictures show the clothing, war paint, weapons and decorations of various Native Indian tribes, such as the Pequot tribe, that can be used as a really useful educational resource for kids and children of all ages. We hope you enjoy watching the video - just click and play - a great social studies homework resource for kids .

 

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