I’m working my way through the DAR’s wonderful resource, Forgotten Patriots: African American and American Indian Patriot in the Revolutionary War. These names of course are all going on the Native Names document.
The DAR has separated their research into states, and I’ll be summarizing as I go along.
In Maine, which was at the time of the Revolutionary War, part of Massachusetts, the goal was to balance British influence among the Indians and keep them neutral. To this end, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress addressed the Penobscot Tribe in May of 1775.
The St. John’s and Micmac tribes sent a letter to the Council, joining their brothers, the Penobscot Indians and declared to the Americans: “We are Brothers of One Father and God made us all, and we will stand by you, as long as the Almighty will give us strength, and we hope you will do the same for us.”
This does not mean that the British stopped trying to recruit the Indians of course, but the Indians did indeed fight alongside the Americans.
The final great military action in the north took place in July of 1779 with an expedition to Penobscot which involved the Penobscot Indian unit. A monument on Indian Island in Old Town, Maine was erected by the Bango Chapter of the DAR in 1910 to commemorate the support of the Penobscot tribe.
The DAR document sums the situation up in their final introductory paragraph:
“In the final days of the Revolution, attention of the governing bodies was far from Maine. When the peace negotiations took place, the hopes of a St. Johns’ River border were dashed as all of the land north of the St. Croix River went to Canada. Maine remained the home of only remnants of two of the tribes who supported the American cause. The Penobscots have a reservation at Indian Island, Old Town, Maine and the Passamaquoddy Tribal Reservation is near Perry, Maine. Few Indians received Federal pensions or any proper compensation for their sacrifices.”
In the list of Maine Patriots, we find Indians from the following tribes:
- St. John’s Indians
- Maliseet Indians
- Passamoquoddy Indians
- Micmac Indians
- Penobscot Indians
- Mohawk Indians
- Canawango Indian