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Bates professor to discuss Wabanaki place names at AHS annual meeting

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Working with Bates students and Wabanaki scholars, Joseph Hall has developed a map of Wabanaki place names for the western part of Maine.

Associate Professor Joseph Hall of Bates College will present a talk titled “What Does ‘Androscoggin’ Mean?” at the annual meeting of the Androscoggin Historical Society on Tuesday, May 23. The event will take place at Marco’s Restaurant at 12 Mollison Way in Lewiston. The business meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by a social time. Tickets for the dinner, which starts at 6:30 p.m., are $20 for society members and $25 for nonmembers. They must be reserved by Friday, May 19, by calling 784-0586.

Professor Hall is currently researching the history of Wabanakis, the collective name for the Penobscots, Passamaquoddies, Mi’kmaqs, Maliseets, and other peoples indigenous to Maine and the Canadian Maritimes. He is especially interested in the ways that Wabanakis cultivated their ties to their homelands even as European-American colonists dispossessed them of most of that territory.

“My favorite class is a course on the history of Wabanakis in Maine,” Hall noted. “Students are almost always surprised to learn that Maine has Native American inhabitants, and they are even more surprised to learn that Wabanakis continue to play a prominent role in our state.”

Hall, in partnership with Bates students and Wabanaki scholars, has developed a map of Wabanaki place names for the western part of Maine. During his talk, he will discuss how Wabanakis used these names to make this place their home and, in some cases, to make claims to the very lands that the English thought they were purchasing.

Professor Hall received his B.A. at Amherst College and his Ph. D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He teaches courses at Bates College about colonial North America, the United States’ War for Independence, environmental history, and Native American history. He is the author of the book “Zamumo’s Gifts: Indian-European Exchange in the Colonial Southeast,” about how European and Native American understandings of trade and gift-giving shaped the history of the Southeast between 1350 and 1740.

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