Metoac Indians (contraction of Meht-anaw-ack, ‘land of the ear-shell or periwinkle. Tooker). A collective term embracing the Indians of Long Island, New York, who seem to have been divided into the following tribes, subtribes, or bands: Canarsee, Corchaug, Manhasset, Massapequa, Matinecoc, Merric, Montauk, Nesaquake, Patchoag, Rockaway, Secatoag, Setauket, and Shinnecock. There were besides these some minor bands or villages which have received special designations. They were closely connected linguistically and politically, and were probably derived from the same immediate ethnic stein. Ruttenber classes them as branches of the Mahican.
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The Montauk, who formed the leading tribe in the eastern part of the island, are often confounded with the Metoac, and in some instances the Canarsee of the western part have also been confounded with them. The eastern tribes were at one time subject to the Pequot and afterward to the Narraganset, while the Iroquois claimed dominion over the western tribes. They were numerous at the first settlement of the island, but rapidly wasted away from epidemics and wars with other Indians and with the Dutch, disposing of their lands piece by piece to the whites. About 1788 a large part of the survivors joined the Brotherton Indians in Oneida county, N. Y. The rest, represented chiefly by the Montauk and Shinnecock, have dwindled to perhaps a dozen individuals of mixed blood. The Indians of Long Island were a seafaring people, mild in temperament, diligent in the pursuits determined by their environment, skilled in the management of the canoe, seine, and spear, and dexterous in the making of seawan or wampum (Flint). The chieftaincies were hereditary by lineal descent, including females when there was no male representive.
The Metoac villages were:
- Cutchogue (Corchaug)
- Keskaechquerem (?)
- Maspeth (Canarsee)
- Mattituck (Corchaug)
- Wawepex (Matinecock)