Massasoit, chief of the Wampanoag tribe, signed a treaty with the Pilgrams in 1621, that was never broken. As a result, the two groups enjoyed a peaceful coexistence. By early 1621, the Pilgrims had built crude huts and a common house on the shores of Plymouth Bay.
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.
The details surrounding the death of Massasoit are unknown, but it appears to be from very old age. It is believed that he was nearly 90 years of age when he passed away. He was survived by his five children, including the powerful leader Metacom (King Philip).
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.
Today, about 3,000 Wampanoag Indians still live in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. There is a reservation for the Wampanoag Indians on Martha’s Vineyard that was set up by the United States government.
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.
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.
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.
If you’d like to learn to say a Wampanoag word, Wuneekeesuq (pronounced similar to wuh-nee-kee-suck) is a friendly greeting that means “Good day!” You can also see a Wampanoag picture dictionary here. What was the Wampanoag culture like in the past?
Metacom, alias Pometacom, Philip, Philip Keitasscot, Wewasowannet, was a son of the Wampanoag sachem Massasoit, whose home village was at Mount Hope at Pokanoket. He married Wootonekanuske, daughter of the Pocasset sachem Corbitant and sister of Weetamoe, Philip’s sister-in-law.
Massasoit Sachem (/ˌmæsəˈsɔɪ(ɪ)t/) or Ousamequin (c. 1581 – 1661) was the sachem or leader of the Wampanoag confederacy. Massasoit means Great Sachem.
The food that the Wampanoag tribe ate included crops they raised consisting of the “three sisters” crops of corn, beans and squash together with Jerusalem artichoke, pumpkin, and zucchini. Meat included deer (venison), black bear, rabbit, grouse, squirrel, duck, geese, muskrat, beaver, otter, raccoon and turkey.
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.
All of the pilgrims came on the Mayflower Samoset (ca. 1590–1653) was the first Native American to speak with the Pilgrims in Plymouth Colony. On March 16, 1621, the people were very surprised when Samoset walked straight into Plymouth Colony where the people were living.
The Wampanoag Indians of eastern Massachusetts played a role in helping and teaching the Pilgrims how to survive in this new land. In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims along with about 90 Wampanoag Indians, including their chief, Massasoit, celebrated the fall harvest.