Saturday, April 23, 2016

Native American Biographies: Native Americans and the Pilgrims: Thanksgiving

Massasoit chief of the Wampanoag maintained positive relations with the Pilgrims throughout his life, except for a brief argument over Squanto.  However when Massasoit was ill, Edward Winslow visited him and nursed him back to health.  From this point Massasoit was a firm ally, even to the point of advising the colonists when others had designs against them.  When his people were invited to the first Thanksgiving, Massasoit attended with about 90 others.  They brought five deer.  It wasn't until after his death, that increasing numbers caused bad will, and King Philip's War resulted lead by Massasoit's son.

Metacomet or King Philip is known for waging war against the Puritan colonists.  Massasoit had brought his sons to the English, and the English governor became their Godfather.  Thus his son was given the name Philip.  This war was perhaps the bloodiest on the East coast.  Over 600 whites were killed and many Indians.  Many cities were vulnerable.  However Metacomet was finally defeated.  He was killed by a vigilante party

Squanto was captured by exploring English and taken to England with designs of selling him into slavery.  He was rescued by friars in Spain.  He designed to make his way home.  He finally did so, but found the area where he was from ravaged by plague, and the Native Americans gone.  However in their place were the Pilgrims.  He served them as friend and educator, and reportedly taught them how to increase the output of their corn using fish for fertilizer.  Massasoit never trusted Squanto, believing he also served the Pilgrims as a spy on the Massasoit.  He often helped negotiate peace treaties between Native American and Whites.  He often served as interpreter.  Squanto became ill and died.  However the circumstances were such that he may have been poisoned by Massasoit supporters.

Samoset was a Pemaquid Indian.  He was the first Native American to greet the Pilgrims.  This was after about three months of keeping an I on them.  He had picked up some English from the English fisherman who were off the coast.  He greeted them, "Welcome Englishmen."  He left and return with Massasoit and also Squanto who spoke better English.

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