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Squanto, Friend Of The Pilgrims

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Squanto was NOT the first Native American to meet the Pilgrims. A Wampanoag Indian named Samoset who could speak a little English went into the settlement first. According to William Bradford’s diary, he told the settlers that he knew a man “whose name was Squanto, a native of this place, who had been in England and could speak better English than himself.” Samoset returned to the village a few days later with Squanto. Excellent books to read about this include William Bradford:Plymouth’s Faithful Pilgrim by Gary Schmidt, and S quanto, Friend Of The Pilgrims. An excellent series to watch is Saints and Strangers produced by National Geographic, which can be watched on demand. The below trailer is from 2015.

Secaucus, New Jersey - Working on that particular U.S. holiday, but we have a feast the first weekend week of December to celebrate the last harvest of the season. Weymouth brought Squanto and the other Indians to England, where Squanto lived with Ferdinando Gorges, who taught him English and hired him to be an interpreter and guide. Interpreter and Guide for the PilgrimsOther tribes, such as the Massachusetts and Narragansetts, were not so well disposed towards European settlers, and Massasoit’s alliance with the Pilgrims disrupted relations among Native American peoples in the region. 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 in 1657, he had already expressed anxiety that New England would soon be torn apart by violence. In 1675, Bradford’s predictions came true, in the form of King Philip’s War. (Philip was the English name of Metacomet, the son of Massasoit and leader of the Pokanokets since the early 1660s.) That conflict left some 5,000 inhabitants of New England dead, three quarters of those Native Americans. In terms of percentage of population killed, King Philip’s War was more than twice as costly as the American Civil War and seven times more so than the American Revolution. The Pilgrim Legacy in New England It is unknown precisely why Samoset traveled roughly 200-miles south to visit with Wampanoag Chief Massasoit. According to the Pilgrims, Samoset told them he had arrived at Patuxet in July of 1620 (months before the Pilgrims landed) as an “emissary.” Being a diplomat and skilled with languages, historians assume his mission was an official one but the topic is a mystery. It is believed he sailed with Captain Thomas Dermer from Monhegan Island to Cape Cod as Dermer was a regular explorer along the coast with frequent stops in the Patuxet region.Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king, Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain [ Myles Standish] and others. (82) It’s likely the Pilgrims didn’t actually invite the Wampanoag to the first harvest “Thanksgiving” memorialized in the now-popular American holiday. In fact, the tense days-longfeast convened to put at ease some 90 Wampanoag warriors who had arrived at Plymouth fully armed in response to a volley of celebratory gunfire they had heard shot by the colonists. Despite being discovered, Squanto continued to try to manipulate his people for his personal benefit. Bradford observed, “they began to see that Squanto sought his own ends and played his own game, by putting the Indians in fear and drawing gifts from them to enrich himself, making them believe he could stir up war against whom he would and make peace for whom he would.”

he story of Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without Squanto, the “friendly” Indian who helped the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony survive. He taught them how to cultivate crops, which plants they could use and which they should avoid, and how to tap the native maple trees for sap. A Disney movie loosely based on Squanto's Life, Squanto: A Warrior's Tale, was released a year before Pocahontas.

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Squanto’s original village became hometown to the Pilgrims. The Pilgrims did NOT clear the land and build huts themselves when they arrived in Massachusetts. They moved into the disease-decimated settlement of the Patuxet settlement, using whatever implements and food could be found in the remains of the village. That if anything were taken away from any of theirs, he should cause it to be restored; and they should do the like to his. Squanto turned to the leaders. “May I stay with you? I can help you. I know where you can find foods in the forest.” The white men studied the Indian carefully. Could he be trusted? Still, the struggling colony was in no position to refuse help. “Yes. Please stay.”

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