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stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Algonquian is a frequently misused word, often used by persons who assume they are identifying a specific tribe of Native Americans as being the Algonquian Indians. While there is one small Algonquian tribe living in Canada, the term Algonquian is usually used to refer to "dozens of distinct Native American tribes who speak languages that are related to each other."

For students of United States history, the name Algonquian is frequently but mistakenly associated with the band of Indians who sold Manhattan Island to the Dutch settlers of New Netherland colony. The Dutch first dealt with members of the Canarsee tribe, and later also paid members of the Manhattan tribe to purchase Manhattan Island. Both the Canarsee and the Manhattan tribes fall under the general grouping of Algonquian Indians, but that name is not an accurate name for either group.

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