Indian Tribes of the United States Letter M-N

From the Index of the Presidential Messages and Papers 1789-1897
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Mandan Indians

A tribe of the Siouan family of Indians. They were almost exterminated by smallpox in 1837. The survivors consolidated, and now occupy villages in common with the Hidatsa and Arikara, on the Fort Berthold Reservation, in North Dakota. These Indians are of a light complexion. They now number about 250.

Massachuset Indians

A tribe of the Algonquian stock of Indians formerly inhabiting the eastern portion of the present State of Massachusetts and the basins of the Neponset and Charles rivers. In 1617 they were much reduced by pestilence. The Massachuset Indians in 1650 were gathered into the villages of the Praying Indians and lost their tribal identity. They were always friendly to the whites.

Menominee Indians

A tribe of the Algonquian family of Indians, which since it first became known to the whites has occupied lands in Wisconsin and upper Michigan, chiefly along the Menominee River and the west side of Green Bay, and extending south to the Fox River and west to the Mississippi. The name means "wild rice men," from their principal article of food. The French translated the name into "Folles Avoines," by which the Menominees are sometimes known. They now number about 1,300 at the Green Bay (Wis.) Agency. In the early Indian wars they sided with the British.

Modoc Indians

A tribe of the Lutuamian family of Indians, which, with the Klamaths, formerly occupied the region of the Klamath Lakes and Sprague River, Oreg., and extended southward into California. They began attacks on the whites as early as 1847. Hostilities continued until 1864, when they ceded their lands and agreed to go on a reservation. The Modocs became notorious through their conflict with the Government in 1872-73. They refused in 1872 to go to the Klamath Reservation, but instead took up strongly fortified positions in the lava beds near Fort Klamath, where in April, 1873, they murdered Gen. Canby and Commissioner Thomas, who had been sent to induce them to go to the reservation. War followed and soon the Government troops compelled the Indians to surrender. Captain Jack, their leader, and 2 associates were executed and about 80 of his followers were removed to Indian Territory. The remainder, some 150, reside on the Klamath Reservation in Oregon.

Mohave Indians

A tribe of the Yuman Indians. They live along the Lower Colorado River, in Arizona. About a third of them are on reservation ground. They number in all some 2,000.

Mohawk Indians

A tribe of the Iroquois family of Indians. The name is said to be derived from the Algonquian word "maqua," meaning bears. Early settlers found them occupying the territory now included in New York State, extending from the St. Lawrence River to the Delaware River watershed and from the Catskills to Lake Erie. Their villages were along the Mohawk River. They were known as one of the Five Nations, and were the first tribe of the region to obtain firearms. The Mohawks were allies of the English in their wars with the French and Americans. In 1784, under Brant, they retired to Upper Canada.

Mohegan Indians

A tribe of the Algonquian family of Indians. They once lived chiefly on the Thames River, in Connecticut. The Mohegans claimed territory extending eastward into Massachusetts and Rhode island. After the destruction of the Pequots, in 1637, they claimed the latter's lands. The death of King Philip, in 1676, left them the only important body of Indians in southern New England. They finally became scattered, some joining the Brotherton Indians in New York. The Mohegans are often confounded with the Mohicans and called River Indians.

Mohican Indians

A tribe of the Algonquian family of Indians. The name is interpreted both as "wolf" and "seaside people." When first known to the whites they occupied both banks of the Hudson River, extending from near Albany to Lake Champlain. They were a distinct tribe from the Mohegans of the Connecticut River. The two tribes are generally confounded under the name of River Indians. The Mohicans were friendly to the English during the French and British struggles for supremacy in America. They assisted the colonists during the Revolution. Afterwards some of them became citizens.


Navajo Indians

An important tribe of the southern division of the Athapascan stock of Indians. From the time of their earliest discovery by the whites they have occupied the country along and south of the San Juan River, in northern New Mexico and Arizona, and extending into Colorado and Utah. They were surrounded by the Apache tribes except on the north, where the Shoshones were their neighbors. The Navajos are at present confined to the Navajo reservations in Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona.

Nez Perce Indians

The leading tribe of the Shahaptian stock of Indians. They are also known as the Chopunnish, Nimapu, Shahaptan, and Sahaptin. They were found by Lewis and Clark in 1804 inhabiting the country now comprised in western Idaho, northeastern Oregon, and southeastern Washington, and along the Columbia and Snake rivers. They were good horsemen, but knew nothing of agriculture. The Nez Perces were always warlike. They derive their name from their custom of piercing the flesh of the nose for the reception of rings and ornaments. In 1877 the Nez Perces went to war with the whites in a vain attempt to defend their possessions. During this war Chief Joseph and White Bird gave orders to their people not to molest noncombatants, including women and children. Oct. 1 Joseph and 500 of his followers were captured by United States soldiers. They now number about 1,500 on the Nez Perce Reservation, in Idaho.

Nipmuc Indians

A general name for the Indians of several tribes inhabiting in early colonial days south central Massachusetts and extending into Connecticut and Rhode Island. The majority of the Nipmucs did not at first join Philip in his war against the colonists, but were active against the English during the struggle in Connecticut in 1675. In January, 1676, the remnants of Philip's tribe, with the Narraganset, the Quaboag, and River Indians, joined the Nipmucs, and on the defeat of Philip fled north and west. Eliot's translation of the Bible is in the Natic dialect of the Nipmuc language. The word Nipmuc means "fresh-water fishing place."


Website: The History
Article Name: Indian Tribes of the United States Letter M-N
Researcher/Preparer/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: From my Collection of Books: "A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1897". By James D. Richardson--a Representative from the State of Tennessee. Publisher: by Authority of Congress--1899. Ten volumes total. Copyright: 1897 by James D. Richardson.
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