Mali Agat (Molly Ockett) the famous Wabanaki "Doctress"

A story by Maine Historical Society from 1740-1816

Molly Ockett's purse in the collections of the Maine Historical Society, MaineMemory.net #6802

Molly Ockett (circa 1740-1816), was a Wabanaki “doctress” from the Pigwacket homeland, who was widely known among Native people and settlers in northern New England and southern Quebec.

She was part of a large and interrelated network of families who inhabited and traveled in the north country of Wabanaki homelands—now parts of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Canada. Baptized by French missionaries, she was named Marie Agathe (in French), or Mali Agat (in Abenaki). Yet, she also maintained traditional Wabanaki ways, practicing Indigenous herbal medicine, cultivating traditional ecological knowledge, and weaving with traditional fibers.

In addition to herbalism, Molly Ockett was a skilled artist. She created a birch bark box which came into the possession of Mrs. John Kimball of Bethel. Despite the label attached to this box stating that Molly Ockett was, “the last of the Anasagunticooks on the Androscoggin,” Abenaki descendants continue live in their traditional homelands in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Canada.

Like many Wabanaki people, Mali Agat adapted to the changes wrought by colonization in her homeland. The sale and exchange of purses and birch bark containers represent the adaptation of Wabanaki subsistence, incorporating trade to settlers into seasonal cycles. Mali Agat lived a long life; some claimed she lived over one hundred years.

Birch bark box, Molly Ockett, circa 1770

Birch bark box, Molly Ockett, circa 1770

Item Contributed by
Maine Historical Society

Molly Ockett's purse, ca. 1785

Molly Ockett's purse, ca. 1785

Item Contributed by
Maine Historical Society