from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.
- noun A chief of a Native American tribe or confederation, especially an Algonquian chief.
- noun A member of the ruling council of the Iroquois confederacy.
- noun A high official of the Tammany Society, a political organization in New York City.
from The Century Dictionary.
- noun A chief among some tribes of American Indians; a sagamore.
- noun One of a body of high officials in the Tammany Society of New York city. The sachems proper number twelve, and the head of the society is styled grand sachem.
- noun An American hesperiid butterfly, Hylephila campestris, which occurs throughout the eastern two thirds of the United States. Its larvæ feed on grasses. It was formerly known under the specific name of huron, which probably gave rise to the popular name of sachem.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.
- noun A chief of a tribe of the American Indians; a sagamore.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
- noun A chief of a tribe of the American Natives; a
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- noun a chief of a North American tribe or confederation (especially an Algonquian chief)
- noun a political leader (especially of Tammany Hall)
from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
The civil head of a clan was a "sachem"; the military heads were "chiefs."
Its official head was the "sachem," whose functions were of a civil nature.
Mr. Morgan (in his "League of the Iroquois," page 68,) states that to the last-named chief, or "sachem," the duty of watching the door was assigned, and that "they gave him a sub-sachem, or assistant, to enable him to execute this trust."
All the while, the Wampanoag, including their "sachem," or leader, Massasoit, were observing these sickly looking visitors, frail from hunger and disease, knowing they could wipe them out with one fell swoop.
"Ah! Yuagh!" called the sachem, and two young men stepped forward, toe on the line, glanced each at a framed picture, drew up an arm, and, "Whut-t-t t-e-e-p," whined two knives that flittered through the light and struck quivering, one with its cool kiss on McElroy's cheek, the other just in the edge of the slab at De Courtenay's shoulder.
That Algonquin word "sachem," so seldom used, so difficult of pronunciation by the Iroquois, was never employed to designate a councilor in council; there they used the title, Roy-a-neh, and to that title had I answered the belt of the Iroquois, in the name of Kayanehenh-Kowa, the Great Peace.
Finally, this celebrated sachem, Longboard, held a secret council among the captives, and instructed them all to take arms and advance with the British Indians, and use their influence to lead them to a place where they might be captured, and they with the rest, which they successfully effected, and were re-captured by the Americans.
Some sachem would sadly sketch the smiling scenes of health and happiness in the days before the pale-face came to wrest from the Indians their land, the gift of the Great Spirit.
As the little squadron from Communipaw drew near to the shores of Manna-hata, a sachem at the head of a band of warriors appeared to oppose their landing.
A Seneca sachem of the highest class, he was born at the Indian village of Ga-no-wau-ges, near Avon, about the year 1735, and died at Onondaga in 1815, where he happened to be on one of his pastoral visits.