Ne-Do-Ba – Gwilodwogan (Wabanaki People)

Did you get that?  Not a word huh.  Well, that’s because it’s not English. 

Nancy LeCompte, the Research and Education Director for the Ne-Do-Ba contacted me and shared her wonderful blog.  the Ne-Do-Ba are Wabanaki people.  Wabanaki translates loosely as “Dawnland,” meaning the first to see the sun each morning.  You can read more about these people at this link. and on the organization’s homepage at this link:

There is also a Wabanaki timeline here:

Information about the historic Wabanaki people here:

These people lived in Maine, New Hampshie, Vermont, New Brunswick (Canada), Nova Scotia and parts of Quebec.  The following modern-day tribes are descendants of the Wabanaki:

  • Penobscot
  • Pasamaquoddy
  • Maliseet
  • Mi’Kmaq (also spelled Micmac and other variants)
  • Abenaki or Odanak
  • Abenaki of Wolinak

According to Nancy’s blog, GWILODWÔGAN is a word from the Western Abenaki dialect which refers to exploration, research, or investigation.  That’s what her blog is doing. 

One of the challenges faced by Native researchers is to sort our the truth and what is actually documented from oral history, bad genealogy and sometimes just wishful thinking.  What Nancy is doing is using accepted Genealogical Proof Standards, which by the way, does not allow for “preponderance of evidence.”  She takes each family she is working on and documents the research approach and the results.  You can see many of them at this link:

Not only are these wonderful for the families involved, they are excellent step by step examples of how to do this type of genealogical/historical research.  I’ll certainly be adding these surnames, and these links, to the Native Names document.

I had to wonder, where did Nancy start with this research?  I found the answer in one of her blog postings, quoted below:

“In 1898, a number of Indian tribes from New York joined together for the purpose of suing the U.S. Government. The suit involved a broken treaty (imagine that).  Not only did they win the right to sue, they actually won the case and were awarded a sum of money as compensation.  The money was to be distributed amongst the members of the tribes (including the Brothertown Tribe).

In order to properly distribute the money, the government requested individuals fill out applications to prove they had a right to settlement distributions. These applications are an incredible source of genealogical information.”

I guess this is the only good news about broken treaties….for genealogists, they provide those all important breadcrumbs.  I’ve love to have that treaty list of Native people for my Native Names project!!

Nancy – keep up the good work and thank you so much for sharing.

About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
This entry was posted in Abenaki, Canada, Maine, Maliseet, Micmac, New Hampshire, New York, Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Treaty, Vermont, Wabanaki. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Ne-Do-Ba – Gwilodwogan (Wabanaki People)

  1. Nora P says:

    A few years ago I was at a Folk Song & Story Telling Festival in Altamont, NY. There were several Abenaki Native Americans there singing songs from their tribe and telling stories of the dwindling numbers of their kinds. They also told some fascinating stories about their heritage. I just wish now I could remember them.

  2. Nancy says:

    K’chi wliwni nidoba

    Great Thanks My Friend

    Thank you very much for the kind mention of my organization and my research blog. I have been following your blog for several weeks now and find it to be another excellent way of documenting all the various and scattered bits and pieces of Native history. Keep up the good work.

  3. Nancy says:

    It has been pointed out to me that I need to correct a misunderstanding of what Ne-Do-Ba is. We are not Native People. Ne-Do-Ba does not pretend to be a tribe. Ne-Do-Ba is a nonprofit organization run by non-Native people (but some of us may have Native ancestry). We research the history and genealogy of a group of Native People that no longer maintain a community within the region our research focuses on. We focus on Western Maine and Northern NH & VT. The Native People that once inhabited this region still maintain viable communities outside of this region. However, these communities frequently neglect to include our region in their historical efforts. We try to fill the knowledge void found in our region – nothing more.

    Nancy Lecompte
    Research Director for Ne-Do-Ba

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