Massasoit, the great Sachem of the Wampanoag, knew these facts, yet he and his People welcomed and befriended the settlers of the Plymouth Plantation. Perhaps he did this because his Tribe had been depleted by an epidemic.
At the Plymouth settlement in present-day Massachusetts, the leaders of the Plymouth colonists, acting on behalf of King James I, make a defensive alliance with Massasoit, chief of the Wampanoags.
The native inhabitants of the region around Plymouth Colony were the various tribes of the Wampanoag people, who had lived there for some 10,000 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.
8, 1620. Before settling in Plymouth and after anchoring in what is now Provincetown Harbor, the Pilgrims first met the Nauset tribe of the Wampanoag Nation.
As was the custom in England, the Pilgrims celebrated their harvest with a festival. The 50 remaining colonists and roughly 90 Wampanoag tribesmen attended the “First Thanksgiving.”
When Paula Peters was in second grade in Philadelphia in the mid-1960s, listening to a teacher talk about Plymouth colony and the Mayflower, a student asked what happened to the Native Americans who helped the Pilgrims settle, the Wampanoag. The teacher said they were all dead.
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. Our name, Wampanoag, means People of the First Light. In the 1600s, we had as many as 40,000 people in the 67 villages that made up the Wampanoag Nation.
Pilgrims were separatists who first settled in Plymouth, Mass., in 1620 and later set up trading posts on the Kennebec River in Maine, on Cape Cod and near Windsor, Conn. Puritans were non-separatists who, in 1630, joined the migration to establish the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
The Native Americans welcomed the arriving immigrants and helped them survive. Then they celebrated together, even though the Pilgrims considered the Native Americans heathens. The Mayflower pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in 1620 after a difficult voyage, then met with hardships in their first winter.
The Wampanoag suggested a mutually beneficial relationship, in which the Pilgrims would exchange European weaponry for Wampanoag for food. The feast of indigenous foods that took place in October 1621, after the harvest, was one of thanks, but it more notably symbolized the rare, peaceful coexistence of the two groups.
Those three Native Americans came to the settlement made a peace pact with the Pilgrims, for mutual defense. Squanto spoke good English since he actually lived in Europe for many years. He became kind of a “liaison” between the native people and the Pilgrims. The natives taught the Pilgrims how to grow food like corn.