Awashonks (fl. mid-late 17th c.)

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Awashonks (fl. mid-late 17th c.)

Sunksquaw of the Sakonnet tribe. Name variations: The Queen. Born Awashonks in the middle to late 1600s in the vicinity of present-day Little Compton, Rhode Island; death date unknown; married Tolony.

Though sunksquaw is the title given the hereditary female head of state of the Wampanoag Confederacy tribes, Awashonks was one of the numerous women warriors misidentified as a queen by early British colonists. Along with Wetamoo and Magnus , Awashonks participated as a tribal chieftain during Metacom's (King Philip's) War (1675–76). Unlike her counterparts, when she was forced to surrender, Awashonks convinced her warriors to fight with the British, in order to save her people from being sold into slavery in the West Indies.


Allen, Paula Gunn. The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions. Boston, MA: Beacon, 1986.

Deborah Jones , freelance writer, Studio City, California