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Mashpee Tribe

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Mashpee Tribe

Mashpee Indians
Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

Mashpee Indians, Christian Indians, South Sea Indians (front masse-pee or missi-pi, ‘great pool.’-Kendall ). A former settlement on a reservation on the coast of Mashpee Township, Barnstable County, Massachusetts. The reservation was established in 1660 for the Christian Indians of the Vicinity, known as South Sea Indians, but it was afterward recruited from all south east Massachusetts, and even from Long Island. In 1698 they numbered about 285, and their population generally varied from 300 to 400 up to the 19th century. They intermarried with blacks and afterward with Hessians; in 1792 the mixed-bloods formed two-thirds of the whole body, and the black element was then increasing, while the Indians were decreasing.  In 1832 the mixed race was numbered at 315.

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