The Life and Times of Chief Escumbuit
|This is the story of a Pigwacket Indian's obsession to repel English
colonists from territories controlled through 10,000 years by his Abenaki ancestors.
Those who coveted his ancestral lands were victims of Chief Escumbuit's
implacable malice and his war club, with its 98 notches. From his youthful vision
quest in search of his spiritual guardian (his Manatou) and the
taking of his first scalps, his star ascended as he wrought havoc on settlements from
Andover, Massachusetts to Newfoundland, Canada.
Vilified by the English and idolized by his French allies, he traveled to the lavish court of King Louis XIV in the Palace of Versailles, where he was knighted, showered with gifts and adored by Parisian women who were fascinated by his celebrity and his demeanor.
Banished for killing a fellow warrior in a dispute over his secret silver mine, Escumbuit adopted a new tribe. After taking a new wife, he returned to action, wielding the silver saber given to him by Louis XIV. Crippled in a 1708 attack on Haverhill, Massachusetts, he attempted to re-coup his silver mine but failed. His melancholy return to his abandoned native-born village in Maine and his poignant last request to his family, entice the reader to justify his violent life.
Escumbuit was indeed a hero to the French, a monster to the English and a patriot to his Abenaki Indian Nation. He is at once unique, daring, bewildering and ferocious, yet he is also human. In the end, he understood his own doom and that of his people.