Maine-Mawooshen in 1600

Native AmericansNative American Native Americans

The most common term used for the indigenous people or Indians of the United States.
,” “American IndianAmerican Indian

Christopher Columbus mistakenly believed that the Caribbean island on which he had landed was the subcontinent of India, so he called the inhabitants Indians. Eventually, that name was applied to almost all the indigenous, non-European inhabitants of North and South America
,” “IndiansIndian

Refers to either a native of India, or to Native Americans. Columbus used this term for native people because he mistakenly thought he had landed on the subcontinent of India.
,” or “indigenousIndigenous

Native to a place.
people”? These terms are used, often interchangeably, to describe the population living in North America before Europeans arrived. Native often implies that a person was born in a specific place. At one time, of course, Native people were new to North America—migrating gradually from Asia thousands of years ago.

Indigenous most frequently refers to plant or animal species that evolve in one location. Nevertheless, “indigenous people” is sometimes used to refer to the native people of North America or other continents “discovered” by Europeans. The term "Indian" came from the conviction of some Europeans that North America was really the East Indies.

Canadians use the term "First People, " which may be the most accurate although it is not typically used in the U.S. In Our Maine Ancestors we use "Native" or "Indian, " while asking readers to think about how historical and social perspectives influence language, and vice versa.

In 1605 Captain George WaymouthWaymouth, George George Waymouth

c.1585-c.1612. English ship captain and explorer, and student of mathematics, navigation and ship building. In 1602 he led an unsuccessful voyage in search of the Northwest Passage, exploring the area between Greenland and Labrador. After returning he wrote "The Jewell of Artes" a manuscript on navigation, shipbuilding and fortification presented to King James I.
Read more.
explored MidcoastMidcoast

In Maine, generally refers to the area between the Kennebec and Penobscot Rivers.
Maine, and James RosierRosier, James James Rosier

1573-1609 Son of a Norwich clergyman, James Rosier graduated from Cambridge with a B.A. in 1592/3 and M.A. in 1596. He became a Catholic in 1602. He was hired by Thomas Arundell, the prime backer of George Waymouth's voyage to New England in 1605 aboard the vessel Archangell as recorder and naturalist.
Read more.
, “a gentleman employed in the voyage,” wrote a detailed account that was published in England. Waymouth and his men kidnapped five Natives and took them to England. The captives reportedly called their homeland MawooshenMawooshen

According to the Indians kidnapped by George Waymouth and James Rosier, who explored the coast of Maine in 1605, the Natives called this area Mawooshen.

To the Europeans, it was a new world—but Mawooshen was an ancient homeland to a people who had lived here for at least 12,000 years.

In 1600, Maine/Mawooshen was covered with dense forests. Rosier reports finding “birch, ash, maple, spruce, cherry tree, yew, oak very great and good, fir tree... .” The white pineWhite pine

A fast-growing pine tree with white wood and smooth gray bark. Often used for ships' masts in the past.
trees (referred to as fir by Rosier) grew over 200 feet tall and could reach as much as 10 feet in diameter. Later, these trees furnished masts for ships of Britain’s Royal Navy.

Within the forests covering Maine and the Canadian Maritime Provinces lived about 32,000 people, about 41 per 100 square miles. Tribal groups moved from the coast to inland areas according to the season and the availability of food. Some Maine tribes practiced agriculture west and south of the Penobscot River, but were limited by the short growing season and poor soil. For the most part, the Natives had abundant wild food and resources to meet the need of their population.

Indians viewed possessions, especially land, differently from European explorers and settlers. They believed humans shared a social relationship with animals, trees, rivers, rocks, and plants. No one individual “owned” these common gifts of the earth. Since tribes moved around frequently, they did not accumulate many possessions.

Birch bark—the only bark that does not absorb water—was critical to the native culture: it was used for wigwamsWigwam

A hut of the Native Americans of the Great Lakes region and eastward, typically having an arched framework of poles overlaid with bark, rush mats, or hides.
, containers, and canoes, and to line cellars for food storage. Bark containers could be plain, or elaborately decorated with incised designs and porcupine quills. Today’s artisans continue the tradition, sometimes with modern motifs. The Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor has many Native American items.

Utility played a large part in the survival of the bark canoe. Bark canoes were built to outfit sporting camps, and continued to be used by guides, lumbermen, and anyone who needed a light, portable boat. Sporting camps, springing up after the Civil War, provided a ready market. In the late nineteenth century, wood and canvas canoes superseded bark, in part because of the scarcity of canoe-sized birch trees.