The mask depicts a Mighty Warrior-Superchief of the Sagamore’s; Mid-Central Maine’s First Nation’s people who governed the Algonquin-Abenaki family’s lands in the 17th century.
Midcoast Maine is the burial place of Abigadasset. The Abigadasset River in this area runs through Richmond, and Abigadasset Road stands near the historic Jellerson School in Bowdoin.
Many land ownership or usage challenges faced him in the early settlements of white men arriving up & down the Kennebec River.
SWANGO or SOWANGEN, Island of Eagles (now known as the Swan Island where Marine Biologist Steve Powell lived in the 1940’s and recorded voluminous statistics on geese, ducks, deer and other wildlife) was one of the most threatened territories the Bashaba most often visited. The head of the friendliest native band in the area from Bath to Hallowell: Chief Kenebiki of the Kennebec River. Considering Fort Richmond and the Chaudiere Corridor’s proximity, the area was coveted because of the access to all Maine points and for the trade vital to survival done all along the river.
In 1604 the French explorer Samuel de Champlain met with the Bashaba and called him “chief of this river” (referring to the Penobscot, Maine’s longest).
Jesuit missionary Father Pierre Biard met the Bashaba near Castine, Maine, in November 1611 to gather approximately 300 Sagamore peoples. Father Biard reported the Bashaba to be the most prominent Sagamore, “a man of great discretion and prudence.”
Abigadassett believed his task was to unite and protect the people of this territory from marauding tribes, mainly the Tarrentines, the Eastern-Etchemins & Micmacs. This group was most threatening to his people’s peaceful co-existence as they formed an alliance of traders and raiders who were hostile toward the Western-Etchemin & Abenaki-Pennacook peoples.
Eventually, despite all peaceful efforts to preserve his vision, he was killed by the Tarrantines within a year or two of Captain John Smith’s exploration of the Maine coast.