“Also spelled Peace Punk, Pesuponck, and Pissepunk in other parts of southern New England, the word comes from “pesuppau-og,” meaning “they are sweating.” It appears in the languages of the Narragansett and the Paugusett tribes; the latter lived in parts of Fairfield County.
A peespunk or “sweat lodge” was an especially tight hut or cave where Native American men built hot fires and took ceremonial sweat baths. Roger Williams, leader of the settlers of Rhode Island, described such sweathouses where the men went “first to cleanse their spirits, secondly to purge their bodies…”


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