The Wampanoag have lived in southeastern Massachusetts for more than 12,000 years. They are the first tribe first encountered by the Mayflower Pilgrims when they landed in Provincetown Harbor and explored the eastern coast of Cape Cod and when they continued on to Patuxet (Plymouth) to establish Plymouth Colony.
It was a feast for a young crowd. A depiction of early settlers of the Plymouth Colony sharing a harvest Thanksgiving meal with members of the local Wampanoag tribe at the Plymouth Plantation.
The Wampanoag Indians were original natives of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It was Wampanoag people who befriended the pilgrims at Plymouth Rock and brought them corn and turkey for the famous first Thanksgiving.
The Wampanoag are one of many Nations of people all over North America who were here long before any Europeans arrived, and have survived until today. Many people use the word “Indian” to describe us, but we prefer to be called Native People. Today, about 4,000-5,000 Wampanoag live in New England.
From 1615 to 1619, the Wampanoag suffered an epidemic, long suspected to be smallpox. Modern research, however, has suggested that it may have been leptospirosis, a bacterial infection which can develop into Weil’s syndrome. It caused a high fatality rate and decimated the Wampanoag population.
The Wampanoag tribe was known for their beadwork, wood carvings, and baskets. Here are some pictures of a Wampanoag basket being woven. Wampanoag artists were especially famous for crafting wampum out of white and purple shell beads.
Many Native Americans do not celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims and other European settlers. To them, Thanksgiving Day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of their people, the theft of their lands, and the relentless assault on their cultures.
A friendly Indian named Squanto helped the colonists. He showed them how to plant corn and how to live on the edge of the wilderness. A soldier, Capt. Miles Standish, taught the Pilgrims how to defend themselves against unfriendly Indians.
John M. But there is no indication that turkey was served. For meat, the Wampanoag brought deer, and the Pilgrims provided wild “fowl.” Strictly speaking, that “fowl” could have been turkeys, which were native to the area, but historians think it was probably ducks or geese.
The Mayflower attempted to depart England on three occasions, once from Southampton on 5 August 1620; once from Darthmouth on 21 August 1620; and finally from Plymouth, England, on 6 September 1620.
The Pilgrims were a group of English people who came to America seeking religious freedom during the reign of King James I. After two attempts to leave England and move to Holland, a Separatist group was finally relocated to Amsterdam where they stayed for about one year.
Mayflower docks at Plymouth Harbor Accused of treason, they were forced to leave the country and settle in the more tolerant Netherlands. After 12 years of struggling to adapt and make a decent living, the group sought financial backing from some London merchants to set up a colony in America.
The Wampanoag, led by Chief Massasoit, are remembered for the help they gave to the first colonists and for his son Metacom (King Philip ).
Today there are about four to five thousand Wampanoag. Most live in Massachusetts where there are two federally acknowledged tribes, the Aquinnah Wampanoag and the Mashpee Wampanoag, as well as several smaller bands in areas like Herring Pond, Assonet, and Manomet.
Pumpkin Pie Both the Pilgrims and members of the Wampanoag tribe ate pumpkins and other squashes indigenous to New England—possibly even during the harvest festival—but the fledgling colony lacked the butter and wheat flour necessary for making pie crust.