1(Among some American Indian peoples) a chief.
- The leading sachem Massasoit told them that the population had been destroyed by a sickness.
- The elder clan mothers in matrilineal Iroquois society had the power to choose the sachems, or peace chiefs, for each of their clans.
- Like the sachem of the Iroquois and the Lakota of the Plains, Hawaiian chiefs, too, had to adapt to survive and compete against the European intruders, and did so with some success.
From Narragansett, 'chief, sagamore'.
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