Our Beloved Kin: Remapping A New History of King Philip's War


Koasek is a significant homeland and wôlhanak, a fertile bowl that fed Abenaki families for millennia. Known as the “place of pines,” Koasek was not merely a single location (a dot on the map), but an entire region, the northern Kwinitekw Valley, where pines do indeed flourish. Of course, at this time, the pines must have been immense and impressive, growing hundreds of feet tall, providing a great canopy which sheltered many families. Koasek was also one of the many places on Kwinitekw that provided fertile ground for corn and her companions, considered the northern “intervales” of the river. At the junction of multiple trails, Koasek was an ideal center for inland communication and travel, with trails leading up from the lower Kwinitekw towns, west to Winoskik and Missisquoi, and east to Pemijoasik and Wiwninbesaki.

Koasek was one of several locations that Weetamoo and Quinnapin may have been traveling toward as they took the Kwinitekw trails that led north. Although English settlers were not familiar with Koasek, reports came down by June 1676 that many people had gone upriver, seeking sanctuary in Wabanaki towns beyond English reach. Governor Leverett reported that “the greatest number of the enemy are gone up towards the head of Connecticut River, where they have planted much corn on the interval lands and seated three forts very advantageously in respect of the difficulty of coming at them.” In referring to the “intervale lands” “towards” the Connecticut River headwaters, Leverett must have been speaking about Koasek, showing both his unfamiliarity with the Native geography and a newfound awareness of the northern country above the Connecticut River settlements. The Connecticut River continued to provide a sanctuary and a throughway for protectors, families and their captives during the many conflicts that followed. Even one hundred years later, during the American Revolution, Koasek was recognized as a gathering place for Abenaki families and for Native men who could be recruited to the new colonial resistance, against the English. [1]


[1] Salisbury, Sovereignty, 88. Schultz and Tougias, King Philip’s War, 282–3???  Noel Sainsbury ed., Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series, America and West Indies, 1669-1674, preserved in the Public Record Office, (New York: Kraus Reprint Ltd., 1964), 406. Colin Calloway, The Western Abenakis of Vermont (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990). Evan Haefeli and Kevin Sweeney, Captors and Captives: The 1704 French and Indian Raid on Deerfield (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 2005), 129. Colin Calloway, “Sentinels of the Revolution: Bedel's New Hampshire Rangers and the Abenaki Indians on the Upper Connecticut,” Historical New Hampshire 45:4 (Winter 1990), 270-295.

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