Wabanaki FAQs

What does the word ‘Wabanaki’ mean?

Wabanaki means “people of the dawn land” and is a term that refers collectively to the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, and Eastern Abenaki tribes whose territories make up the lands now known as Maine in the United States, and eastern Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick Provinces in Canada.

 Where are the tribes in Maine located?

Most tribal members and territories are concentrated in Aroostook, Penobscot, and Washington counties; some of the state’s poorest and most remote locations. Besides reservation land the tribes also own trust land that is located throughout the state.

The Houlton Band of Maliseets reservation is located in Houlton.

The Aroostook Band of Micmacs reservation is located in Presque Isle.

The Passamaquoddy Tribe has two reservations one at Pleasant Point, near Eastport; and the other at Indian Township.

The Penobscot Nation reservation is located on Indian Island in the Penobscot River, next to Old Town, and encompasses all the islands in the Penobscot River north of Old Town.

 I am traveling in Maine and want to purchase baskets and other native art, where can I go?

Home & Away Gallery, 26 Maine Street, Kennebunkport, 207-967-2122

Center for Maine Craft, 24 Service Plaza Drive, West Gardner, 207-588-0021

Abbe Museum Gift Shop, 26 Mount Desert Street, Bar Harbor, 207-288-3519

Island Artisans, 99 Main Street, Bar Harbor, 207-288-4214

 Are there places where I can purchase from the artists directly?

There are a number of events where Native artists sell their work directly to the public.

  • Annual Native American Festival and Basketmakers Market, at College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, Maine.
  • Maine Native American Summer Market & Demonstration, at the Shaker Village, New Gloucester, Maine.
  • Common Ground Fair – Maine Indian Basketmakers Area, Crosby Brook Road, Unity, Maine.
  • Annual Maine Indian Basketmakers Sale & Demonstration, at the Hudson Museum, University of Maine, Orono, Maine.

A number of artists also sell their work in National Native Arts Markets like the following:

Heard Indian Market, first weekend in March, Phoenix, Arizona
Santa Fe Indian Market, third weekend in August, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Additionally, some artists sell from their homes. If you’re in the tribal communities look for signs, or stop in at the tribal museums and ask who might have work available. You can also check the events pages on www.maineindianbaskets.org.

 Where can I learn more about Wabanaki history and culture?

Maine is lucky to have many great museums that focus on Wabanaki history and culture. Visit them in person or go to their websites.

The Abbe Museum, www.abbemuseum.org
The Hudson Museum, www.umaine.edu/hudsonmuseum
The Maine State Museum, www.mainestatemuseum.org

If you live in Maine or just traveling through the tribal museums are a great resource filled with community treasures and lovingly staffed by tribal members. Be sure to call ahead for opening days and hours.

Indian Township Museum, 207-796-5533
Penobscot Nation Museum, 207-827-4153

Please check our sister website www.wabanakitrails.org for a more complete listing of museums and tribal cultural departments.

Visit the official websites of the Wabanaki tribes, below are links to the Maine tribes, search online for links to the Wabanaki in Canada:

Houlton Band of Maliseets
Aroostook Band of Micmacs
Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township
Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point
Penobscot Nation      

I am planning a vacation to Maine, where should I visit?

If you are interested in Wabanaki culture please visit www.wabanakitrails.org to learn about the special places within our tribal homelands.

Maine Office of Tourism, www.visitmaine.com
Maine Tourism Association, www.mainetourism.com
Maine Wilderness Guides Organization, http://www.mwgo.org/