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Algonquian is a language family, which is a group of related languages. An Algonquian tribe is simply a tribe that speaks an Algonquian language. In addition to New England and the Great Lakes area, Algonquian speakers are also to be found in other parts of the Northeast, and in the Plains area.

The Algonquin Indians lived in the northeast in what is now New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. This land varied from ocean beaches and marshlands to forests, rivers, valleys, and rocky highlands. The Great Lake Tribes lived beside the Great Lakes. Some area tribes included the Sauk, Shawnee, and Winnebago.



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Models of a wigwam

Pa170008.jpg (51141 bytes) The Algonquins and Great Lake tribes lived in villages which usually had eight or nine hundred Indians. In the village the Indians built dome-shaped wigwams which they made from saplings covered with birch, chestnut, oak, or elm. The Indians placed bark and animal hides over the roof of their wigwams. A moose hide hung in the doorway. A pole was sewn to the bottom of the moose hide to hold the door down.
Inside the wigwam cedar branches and rush mats covered the ground. Beds were made from spruce boughs covered with skins. The Algonquins sat on rolled-up skins and hides. Larger houses were also made that could house more than one family. These houses were wigwassawigamig-shaped, like a book standing on its open edge. Pa180003.jpg (41142 bytes)

Many villages had tall staked fences around them called palisades. When the Indians went away from their village on hunting trips they put up cone-shaped wigwams made of wooden poles and bark.


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The Algonquin Indians made most of their clothing from elk and deer hides. They decorated it with shells, stones, seeds, paint, dyes, and porcupine quills. The men wore breechcloths and the women wore wraparound skirts. They also wore belts, leggings, and moccasins. In the winter they made fur-lined shawls and wove turkey down robes.

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