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Montauk Tribe

Montauk Indians (meaning uncertain). A term that has been used in different senses, sometimes limited to the particular hand or tribe known by this name, but in a broader sense including most of the tribes of Long Island, excepting those about the west end. It is occasionally used incorrectly as equivalent to Metoac. The Indians of Long Island were closely related to the Indians of Massachusetts and Connecticut. Tooker1 says that the dialect of the Montauk was more nearly related to the Natick of Massachusetts than was the Narraganset. The Montauk, in the limited sense, formerly occupied Easthampton township, Suffolk county, at the east end of Long Island, and controlled all the other tribes of the island, except those near the west end. That these so called tribes were but parts of one group or tribe, or the loosely connected elements of what had been an organized body, seems apparent. Ruttenber, speaking of the Montauk in the limited sense, says: “This chieftaincy was acknowledged both by the Indians and the Europeans as the ruling family of the island. They were indeed the head of the tribe of Montauk, the other divisions named being simply clans or groups, as in the case of other tribes. Wyandance, their sachem, was also the grand sachem of Paumanacke, or Sewanhackey, as the island was called. Nearly all the deeds for lands were confirmed by him. His younger brothers, Nowedonah and Poygratasuck [Poggatacut], were respectively sachems of the Shinnecock and the Manhasset.” The Rockaway and Cannarsee at the west end were probably not included. It is doubtful whether he is correct in including the...

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