Pilgrims and Indians: A practical relationship - News - The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, MA - Quincy, MA
Most of us associate the holiday with happy Pilgrims and Indians sitting down to a big feast. And that did happen - once. The story began in when a band of. The Pilgrim/Indian relationship has been confused and conflated with Columbus, the Puritans, the Pequot War, the French and Indian Wars, and virtually every. Most of us associate the holiday with happy Pilgrims and Indians sitting . text on the settlement of New England and the evolution of Indian/White relations in.
During the next several months, the settlers lived mostly on the Mayflower and ferried back and forth from shore to build their new storage and living quarters. More than half of the English settlers died during that first winter, as a result of poor nutrition and housing that proved inadequate in the harsh weather. Leaders such as Bradford, Standish, John Carver, William Brewster and Edward Winslow played important roles in keeping the remaining settlers together.
Relations with Native Americans The native inhabitants of the region around Plymouth Colony were the various tribes of the Wampanoag people, who had lived there for some 10, years before the Europeans arrived. Soon after the Pilgrims built their settlement, they came into contact with Tisquantum, or Squanto, an English-speaking Native American.
Meant for slavery, he somehow managed to escape to England, and returned to his native land to find most of his tribe had died of plague.
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In addition to interpreting and mediating between the colonial leaders and Native American chiefs including Massasoit, chief of the PokanoketSquanto taught the Pilgrims how to plant corn, which became an important crop, as well as where to fish and hunt beaver.
In the fall ofthe Pilgrims famously shared a harvest feast with the Pokanokets; the meal is now considered the basis for the Thanksgiving holiday. Over the next decades, relations between settlers and Native Americans deteriorated as the former group occupied more and more land. By the time William Bradford died inhe had already expressed anxiety that New England would soon be torn apart by violence.
Philip was the English name of Metacomet, the son of Massasoit and leader of the Pokanokets since the early s.
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But historians and interpreters say it was based on practical reasons that hold lessons for such relations today The First Thanksgiving between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags is one of the most familiar scenes from American lore and history: William Bradford and the English gathered around a long table with Massasoit and his villagers, harmoniously sharing the meal and day. The Pilgrims and Indians probably kept mostly to themselves.
The gathering lasted three days in September, rather than one in November, and turkey and cranberries may not have been part of the feast. The Pilgrims heard the Wampanoags out in the forest for four months before their first face-to-face encounter.
But interpreters at Plimoth Plantation say their early contact offers even more important lessons in how strangers and nations really get along.
Lesson one, said associate director and Mashpee Wampanoag Darius Coombs: The Wampanoags outnumbered the Pilgrims, while the Pilgrims had muskets and cannon. But Coombs and deputy director Richard Pickering said a devastating plague and the memory of previous European traders set the stage for an alliance.
Ships from England and other countries had stopped along the New England coast for a decade before the Pilgrims set sail. Some captured Indians and sold them into slavery, often to teach them European languages so they could be used as guides and translators on return trips.
The captures left many tribes wary of further contact. So did a skirmish between traders and Wampanoags on the Cape in Then the plague struck. Beforeas many as 25, Indians lived in the area. By the time the Mayflower dropped anchor, whole villages had been wiped out, including the one in Plymouth.