Abenaki Warrior

The Life and Times of Chief Escumbuit

by Alfred E. Kayworth

 

Native American Reviews

The story of the great Abenaki warrior, Chief Escumbuit, is one which has waited far too long to be told. Alfred Kayworth has done a most remarkable job in bringing to light the struggles of the Abenaki people and the choices they were forced to make while caught in the middle of warring French and British factions. As a Passamaquaddy woman, I am honored by Kayworth’s struggle to write Chief Escumbuit’s story in a manner as unbiased as possible. I recommend Abenaki Warrior to every person who has ever had an interest in Abenaki and Wabanaki culture, tradition, and history. More importantly, Abenaki Warrior is a story that all Abenaki and Wabanaki descendents need to be aware of. The knowledge of Chief Escumbuit’s lifelong struggle to ensure the survival of his people should empower Abenakis and Wabanakis to feel a greater sense of pride and renewed faith as they continue their present-day struggle to preserve their rich cultural heritage.

Laura A Brooks
Passamaquaddy Tribal Member
University of Maine School of Law
Portland, Maine

Homepage:  http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/9118/pass.html

 

 

Kuai Kuai Nedobak: (Greetings friends)

It is an excellent book, but what amazes me the most about it is that most of the regional names talked about in the book are quite familiar to me. I grew up in Sanford, Maine, less than 20 miles from many of the sites talked about in the book. I often visited Wells, Kittery, Biddeford, York, Portland, the Saco River etc. as a youth. I was relatively good in history in school, but was never taught any of the history talked about in the book. It is interesting how the dominant culture slants and re-writes histories so as to fulfill its own agenda. So now, I am in the process of re-educating myself. In the past few years I have learned more about my ancestors than in all of my school years combined. I am relatively sure this is also true of many Native Americans, especially those raised in the dominant culture schools.

Having grown up in the areas talked about in the book, I was enthralled by Alfred Kayworth’s novel, Abenaki Warrior.  Unfortunately, many generations of oral Abenaki history have been lost due to the effects of the invading European culture. Thankfully, Mr. Kayworth has given us back some of this lost history and culture. He has obviously done much research to form the backbone of his novel as evidenced by the exhaustive footnotes to historical records. I especially appreciated the cultural context-such as child rearing techniques, traditional games, crop cultivation, style of clothing, canoe building, and so forth. I will most assuredly tell my young son Alex, the delightful story of, "Why Loons Don’t Get Stuck in Bottom Weeds."

There are a few references in the book that should have probably been more thoroughly researched. For example, words like savage, squaw and Stone Age Indian have a negative connotation to modern Native Americans. Instead of saying that our ancestors fought like savages is it not more accurate to say "they fought fiercely with honor and valor?" Perhaps a quote from Mr. Kayworth’s book is appropriate here: On page 198 when Chief Escumbuit was asked by his friend Montigny, "Chief, why do you fight the English with such hatred?" Chief Escumbuit responded:  Then the English came. At first we were his friends. Then they cheated us out of our lands. When we gave them land, it was never enough; they always wanted more. That is why I hate the English and why I will fight them to my death (link to author's comment).

Walk in peace,

Steve Miller
Chula Vista, California

 

 

Kuai Kuai Al (Greetings)

It is wonderful that Mr. Kayworth has taken the time to research and put into words a part of my people's history. Abenaki Warrior is a great story of the personal life of Chief Escumbuit. His military campaigns and his appearance before King Louis XIV in the Palace of Versailles are fascinating reading. The story is also a good example of the history and culture of my people.

My own great grandfather, seven generations ago, was a leader during the War of 1812 and was commended for his part in that war. Having been educated at Hanover, NH and following in his father's, Francois Annance, footsteps better prepared him for the task of interpreter and warrior. He left Odanak in about 1820 saying, "I am returning to the land of my people," the Annasiguntigwok of Western Maine. He and his family finally settled at Moosehead Lake at the foot of Kineo Mountain and started a settlement there with several other Wabanaki families. Louis was always known as the "Big Indian," or leader, by the white people.

Today, 150 years later, the United States government still does not recognize the sovereignty of the Abenaki Nation. As a result, more than 12,000 Abenaki people are not entitled to their rights as native people.

Written works documenting Abenaki history further their claim of sovereignty. Such works also enable my people to rediscover their heritage, since the public schools do not teach them the history of their ancestors. Nevertheless, the true history of the Abenaki people is slowly emerging.

Wlibamkanni (be well)

Lou Annance
Anasagundicook descendent
Mechanic Falls, Maine

Homepage: http://members.aol.com/alnombak

 

 

Being of Native American heritage, I was fascinated by the way Mr. Kayworth combined the personal and historical aspects of the life of Chief Escumbuit. It makes one feel that, if they walked on Escumbuit Island today, they would sense the presence of those long gone Abenaki warriors and their families.

Sue Manic
Cherokee Indian descendant
St. Augustine, Florida

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