1. Area inhabited/ruled [if members of your group emigrated, immigrated, or established settlement (colonies) outside of their home country you should include an explanation of that travel or settlement in this section; include places traveled and reasons for leaving home country]
  2. Everyday Life
  3. Social and Political Organization
  4. Religion
  5. Arts/Technology/Developed Culture

The Pequot Indians

By Natalie Chayet

October 5,2011

Section 7104

Area(s) Inhibited

The Pequot were located in the Northeast of the United States, more specifically, they occupied territory of modern- day Connecticut and Rhode Island. The Pequot Indians are a unique group of Native Americans. Many people know them as one of the first tribes to establish a casino operation, The Foxwood Casino, close to their grounds to generate revenue. As it is known, while casino operations are a good source of income, they also are tied to long- term issues for the tribe members such as alcohol and other addictions.

Social and Political Organization

Pequot Indians were pretty advanced, considering they established themselves during the early sixteen- hundreds. The Pequots had a form of government, religion,type of food, language and they even fought a war. The Pequots spoke Eastern Algonquian as their language. In government, their main leader was called a sachem (SAY- chems). The word ‘sachem’ means ‘leader’ in Eastern Algonqian. The Great Chief Sachem was a type of spiritual leader. This leader was in charge of religion and culture. The tribe had a traditional “council of elders”, as well that was responsible for day- to- day life in the tribe. These sage elders served on the council for life.

A very important chapter in the Pequot nation’s history was a violent confrontation between the Pequot and the Europeans, otherwise known as the Pequot War. The Pequot War lasted two years, from 1636 to 1638. This war was the first major conflict between indigenous people and the superior white men. During the war, many of the Pequot were killed and whoever was left was sold as a slave or placed under the control of other tribes. After the war, many Pequot no longer practiced their traditional religion, but some carried on the rituals. Most Pequots started practicing Christianty and do so until today. The Pequots placed under Mohegan rule eventually separated and were known as the Mashantucket, or Western Pequot.

Everyday Life

Unlike a few other Native American tribes, the Pequot did not live in the stereotypical “tipis.” They lived in small, dome- like homes called “wigwams”. Wigwams had strong, stationary frames made of young trees. The wigwams were covered with a “blanket” of bark or “mats”. The “mats” were made of strong woven plants. The Pequots were nomads that moved with the change of the seasons. A family covered their wigwam’s frame with bark. When the family left each living space, the frame remained in place and they “took their mats with them.”


Like any group of people living primarily outdoors, the Pequot had to grow and/ or hunt for their own food. Some traditional Pequot foods are fish, deer meat, corn, beans, squash, wild berries, and other various edible plants. Men hunted the deer and possibly buffalo meat. During the summer, the Pequot moved to the coast and while there, the men fished for fish, shellfish, and other aquatic animals.The women planted and harvested the vegetables.

The weather in the Northeast can be extreme. In the winter, all men, women and children wore fur coats to keep warm. The men’s “dress code” was to wear breechcloths and leggings, and the women wore dresses and other feminine garments. The length of the garments depended on the season: short in the summer and long in the winter.


Most big groups of people that live together share a common religion, especially families. In the traditional Pequot religion, children are taught that “One Great Spirit oversees everything”, and that people must “treat Earth and everything on it with respect.” They also learn that all living things have a spirit, and that it is wrong to kill beings without a reason.

Art/ Technology

Finally, all Native American tribes distinguish themselves by their unique art and technologic advancements. The Pequot were known for working with shells used as beads and woven into suede. They sold shell necklaces, bracelets and belts and called the art “wampum”. The wampum was used as currency by Europeans to buy furs and other various things from the Native Americans. Hence, the fact that in the Pequot language, ‘Pequot’ means “people of shallow waters”, because they got their shells from the ocean. Although not much is known about Pequot technology, we can surmise that they developed advanced farming and possibly cooking tools.