Deep Time: Wabanaki Presence in the Dawnland

People of the First Light Abbe Museum

“People of the First Light,” the main exhibit at the Abbe Museum in downtown Bar Harbor, explores the history and culture of the native people who lived on Mount Desert Island for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans. Photo by Dick Broom.

By the time European explorers “discovered” the coast of Maine in the early 1600s, native people already had been living here for thousands of years.

Archaeologists have found evidence of human habitation dating back at least 5,000 years on and around Mount Desert Island.

Long before the first Europeans came, the native people had established “a well-adapted and fairly affluent life in their homeland surrounding present-day Acadia National Park,” wrote Julia Clark and George Neptune of the Abbe Museum of Maine Native American history and culture in Bar Harbor.

Full story at the Mount Desert Islander.


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2 thoughts on “Deep Time: Wabanaki Presence in the Dawnland”

  1. I would love to know what the first nation folks on Mt. Desert Island thought of the British arriving to drive off the French Jesuits. Although the tribal people probably had tribal areas and perhaps conflicts, I wonder if the religious and “tribal”conflict between French and English were ever discussed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have no knowledge of that particular dynamic but perhaps the indigenous folks in that immediate area have insight. I am sure it was a topic of great significance at the time. I can safely mention that, with a few exceptions, most of the Wabanaki peoples (from Mi’maq in Nova Scotia to the Sokoki Abenaki in western New England) allied with the French, and to varying degrees, Catholicism, from conversion to syncretism to non-acceptance. There seemed to be a much greater affinity in that direction than with the English and Puritanism.


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