Last modified: 2017-08-23 by rick wyatt
Keywords: passamaquoddy | maine | native american |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors
image by Donald Healy, 24 January 2008
map image by Peter Orenski based on input from Don Healy
Passamaquoddy - Maine
The Passamaquoddy of Maine were once part of the Abenaki Confederacy, an alliance of Algonquin-speaking Tribes in the northeastern part of what is now the United States and the nearby regions of Canada (ENAT, 178). Abenaki means "the people who dwell at the sunrise" or "people of the dawn". Passamaquoddy means "those who pursue the pollock", an important Atlantic food fish. The Confederacy has been reawakened since the relighting of its fires in Restigouche, Quebec, home of the Micmac people (Margaret Dana, letter dated May 15, 1997). The members of the Confederacy are the Abenaki, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot Nations.
© Donald Healy 2008
The current flag of the Passamaquoddy people was adopted - on a 90-day trial basis - in June, 1995 (Passamaquoddy Tribal Council resolution, June 8, 1995). Because that trial period was never followed by other tribal legislation, the flag is considered official.
That new design (called the "scroll") is a white flag bearing the new seal of the Passamaquoddy Nation. Around a central red circle, doubly edged in black, are four groups of five stick figures in black, holding hands. Between these figures are the letters N, W, and S, in black, representing compass points, and a black star edged in white and black, representing the eastern location of Passamaquoddy lands. These denote the unity of the Passamaquoddy "with all Native Americans from the North, South, East, and West" (Interpretation of the Pleasant Point Passamaquoddy's Tribal Logo, unsigned, undated letter, Pleasant Point Reservation, ME).
The red "Circle of Life" recalls the "Red Race" (ibid..). Within it are four plants depicted in yellows and greens, representing the eastern woodlands. Black dots form an inner ring with the plants. Curving above the dots is "PASSAMAQUODDY TRIBE" and "PEOPLE OF THE DAWN" below, all in black. Centered on the circle is a scroll and a "dripping feather" representing the 1980 settlement of land claims with the federal government. The scroll depicts a sunrise over the land at Passamaquoddy Bay and the sun's reflection on its waters, in natural colors. These images affirm the aboriginal rights of the people and a recognition that this bounty was given the Passamaquoddy by the Great Spirit.
A previous, unofficial flag predated the settlement of land claims with the federal government. This dark blue flag had many elements carried over to the current flag, including a large central yellow disk signifying the sun, the compass points and star, and the same words. Its central image, however, was a white pollock skewered by a pair of upward-pointing fishing spears, usually in black and forming a rough "X".
The Passamaquoddy delegate to the Maine legislature uses special automobile license plates bearing the tribal seal. The flag of the Passamaquoddy also flies at sea. Fishing boats belonging to members of the Tribe frequently wear the tribal flag when plying the waters off Maine, in the sole known use of a tribal banner as a maritime ensign.
© Donald Healy 2008
information provided by Peter Orenski, 24 January 2008