MARCH 9, 1853


Masta was a writer, teacher, scholar of the Abenaki Language, and respected leader in the Abenaki community.  He received his primary and secondary education on the Saint Francis Indian reserve at Odanak, Quebec.  Masta later attended Sabrevois College near St-Johns, in Quebec.  While there, he studied Latin and Greek.  In 1875, he married Caroline Tahamont.  For 31 years, Masta was the schoolmaster in the Protestant school at Odanak where he introduced children to the grammatical rules governing their much-forgotten language.  He went on to become chief of The St. Francis Abenaki at Odanak and served as such for 20 years. Masta’s most-important publication was Abenaki Legends, Grammar, and Place Names in 1932.  He began writing the book in 1929, at 77 years of age.  It is not just a dictionary, but also a dissection of an immense collection of different Abenaki words, names, and tales.  He died in Ottawa, on May 12, 1943.  

Source:  Dean Fiotto, “Abenaki Indian Legends, Grammar and Place Names (1932) by Henry Lorne Masta,” Dawnland Voices: Writing of Indigenous New England, Retrieved 6/11/2019,
Photo:  Author and date unknown.  Most likely taken in 1880s.  Possibly Fair use as only source for this photo, author is unknown, and the subject is deceased.  Most likely Public Domain in U.S. as Pre 1/1/1925.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 70 years or less.  Found at: 

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