1 a political leader (especially of Tammany Hall)
2 a chief of a North American tribe or confederation (especially an Algonquian chief) [syn: sagamore]
- A chief of a tribe of the American Natives; a sagamore.
A sachem is the head of a Native American tribe. One source explains:
According to Captain John Smith, who explored New England in 1614, the Massachusett tribes called their kings "sachems" while the Penobscots (of Maine) used the term "sagamos" (anglicized as "sagamore"). Conversely, Deputy Governor Thomas Dudley of Roxbury wrote in 1631 that the kings in the bay area were called sagamores but were called sachems southward (in Plymouth). The two terms apparently came from the same root. Although "sagamore" has sometimes been defined by colonists and historians as a subordinate lord, modern opinion is that "sachem" and "sagamore" are dialectical variations of the same word.
The "great chief" (Algonquian: massasoit sachem) whose aid was such a boon to the Plymouth Colony is remembered today simply as Massasoit.
CognatesDerived from the Proto-Eastern Algonquian sākimāw:
- sâchim (Narragansett language); anglicised as Sachem
- sakəma (Eastern Abnaki language); anglicised as Sagamore
- sôgmô (Western Abnaki language)
sachem in German: Sachem
sachem in French: Sachem
sachem in Italian: Sachem
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