A Note on Sources and Further Reading


Every definition has a citation as part of the pop-up window. Fuller citations for each of these works can be found in the Bibliography.

Citations are important, but, as noted in the section “On Languages and Translation,” a citation does not guarantee accuracy. It does at least allow readers to judge the reliability of a source for themselves.

Further Reading

In addition to providing an alphabetical listing of the works that informed this map, the Bibliography also includes a number of readings of interest to those curious about place names. We mention a few here that deserve special attention.

Perhaps the best place to begin is a short article by Thomas Weddle, “Geologically Speaking, What’s in a Place Name?”  Weddle examines the meanings behind particular place names in Maine. He also offers a useful warning about the challenges of interpreting place names.

For other maps that also provide interpretive information, readers should see Landscapes, Legends, and Language of the Passamaquoddy People: An Interactive Learning CD. This CD-ROM by Passamaquoddy Tribal Historian Donald Soctomah guides users through hundreds of place names, providing pronunciations and some stories associated with particular places.

Newspaper reporter Aimee Dolloff worked closely with Penobscot Tribal Historian James Francis and other Penobscots on a two-part map of Penobscot Bay and the Penobscot River valley that the Bangor Daily News published in September 2006.

One of the earliest and also one of the most thorough examinations of Wabanaki place names is Indian Place Names of the Penobscot Valley and the Maine Coast by Fannie Hardy Eckstorm. Eckstorm consulted with a number of Penobscots and other scholars. Her care with the linguistics and her spirited analysis make for instructive reading. Nonetheless, there are some places where we disagreed with her interpretations.

On a much more general level the anthropologist Keith Basso has written about the ways that Apaches in Arizona have used place names and stories to endow their landscape with cultural values. His ideas have helped us understand the richness of Wabanaki place names even when we did not know many of the stories behind the names.

Of the several dictionaries of Native place names in Maine and New England, John Huden’s Indian Place Names of New England is the most comprehensive and reliable. Stanley Attwood’s The Length and Breadth of Maine offers no definitions, but it can be very useful for finding places that do not appear in searches on the web.