Wampanoag Quotes

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In 1621, colonists invited Massasoit, the chief of the Wampanoags, to a feast after a recent land deal. Massasoit came with ninety of his men. That meal is why we still eat a meal together in November. Celebrate it as a nation. But that one wasn’t a thanksgiving meal. It was a land-deal meal. Two years later there was another, similar meal meant to symbolize eternal friendship. Two hundred Indians dropped dead that night from an unknown poison.
Tommy Orange (There There)
During the "first Thanksgiving" at Plymouth, Wampanoag Indians - including a Patuxet Indian named Squanto - helped teach Pilgrims how to farm, fish, and hunt and shared the bounty of that first feast. A TRADITION THAT CONTINUES TODAY AND JESUS AND 9/11.
Patton Oswalt (Zombie Spaceship Wasteland)
I had come to think that the Wampanoag, who dealt so kindly with their babes, were wiser than we in this. What profit was there in requiring little ones to behave like adults? Why bridle their spirits and struggle to break their God-given nature before they had the least understanding of what was wanted of them?
Geraldine Brooks (Caleb's Crossing)
On the mainland of America, the Wampanoags of Massasoit and King Philip had vanished, along with the Chesapeakes, the Chickahominys, and the Potomacs of the great Powhatan confederacy. (Only Pocahontas was remembered.) Scattered or reduced to remnants were the Pequots, Montauks, Nanticokes. Machapungas, Catawbas, Cheraws, Miamis, Hurons, Eries, Mohawks, Senecas, and Mohegans. (Only Uncas was remembered.) Their musical names remained forever fixed on the American land, but their bones were forgotten in a thousand burned villages or lost in forests fast disappearing before the axes of twenty million invaders. Already the once sweet-watered streams, most of which bore Indian names, were clouded with silt and the wastes of man; the very earth was being ravaged and squandered. To the Indians it seemed that these Europeans hated everything in nature—the living forests and their birds and beasts, the grassy glades, the water, the soil, and the air itself.
Dee Brown (Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West)
Pilgrim writers universally reported that Wampanoag families were close and loving—more so than English families, some thought. Europeans in those days tended to view children as moving straight from infancy to adulthood around the age of seven, and often thereupon sent them out to work. Indian parents, by contrast, regarded the years before puberty as a time of playful development, and kept their offspring close by until marriage. (Jarringly, to the present-day eye, some Pilgrims interpreted this as sparing the rod.) Boys
Charles C. Mann (1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus)
Wampanoags did not lose their land any more than Indians elsewhere on the continent. No, colonists and their successors took it through every means at their disposal.
David J. Silverman (This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving)
Most of us who are not Wampanoag or American Indian will never fully grasp the raw emotions indigenous people associate with Thanksgiving.
David J. Silverman (This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving)
Throughout the 1680s, Plymouth ordered Wampanoags “out of the country” for crimes like theft, assault, and rape to which colonists would normally receive corporal punishment and fines.
David J. Silverman (This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving)
mainland of America, the Wampanoags of Massasoit and King Philip had vanished, along with the Chesapeakes, the Chickahominys, and the Potomacs of the great Powhatan confederacy. (Only Pocahontas was remembered.) Scattered or reduced to remnants were the Pequots, Montauks, Nanticokes. Machapungas, Catawbas, Cheraws, Miamis, Hurons, Eries, Mohawks, Senecas, and Mohegans. (Only Uncas was remembered.) Their musical names remained forever fixed on the American land, but their bones were forgotten in a thousand burned villages or lost in forests fast disappearing before the axes of twenty million invaders. Already the once sweet-watered streams, most of which bore Indian names, were clouded with silt and the wastes of man; the very earth was being ravaged and squandered. To the Indians it seemed that these Europeans hated everything in nature—the living forests and their birds and beasts, the grassy glades, the water, the soil, and the air itself.
Dee Brown (Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West)
The early history of the Wampanoags and Plymouth took place against this dark background of mourning, suspicion, desperation, and fear. It is the most basic element missing from the Thanksgiving myth.
David J. Silverman (This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving)
Surviving as a people in the face of a society that wanted to dispossess them and deny who they were was their great contest. It is a struggle—a fundamentally colonial one—that has lasted to this very day.
David J. Silverman (This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving)
(Indeed, the Trump administration and Assistant Secretary of the Interior Tara Sweeney have recently brought back the termination era by seeking to terminate the Wampanoag, the tribe who first welcomed Pilgrims to these shores and invented Thanksgiving.)
Louise Erdrich (The Night Watchman)
Getting beyond the sanitized Thanksgiving myth to tell a more accurate history of that encounter involves reckoning with a point made by many Wampanoags today: that their storied welcome to the English was a terrible mistake, born out of the horror of a disease without a name.
David J. Silverman (This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving)
If the Wampanoags are as much our fellow Americans as the descendants of the Pilgrims, and if their history can be as instructional and inspirational as that of the English, then why continue to tell a Thanksgiving myth that focuses exclusively on the colonists’ struggles rather than theirs?
David J. Silverman (This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving)
The climate warmed. Wild grasses, flowers and trees took root in the land behind the huge rock. In time, their growing and dying made deep rich loam on which a magnificent forest grew. Into the forest came bear, deer, brightly colored birds, and the Pawtuxets, a tribe of the Wampanoag, The People of the Dawn.
Jean Craighead George (The First Thanksgiving)
The Thanksgiving myth casts the Wampanoags in 1620 as naive primitives, awestruck by the appearance of the Mayflower and its strange passengers. They were nothing of the sort. Their every step was informed by the legacy of the many European ships that had visited their shores and left behind a wave of enslavement, murder, theft, and mourning.
David J. Silverman (This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving)
The Wampanoag, in ways which are not plain to me, in concert decided upon their own observance of father’s passing. They marked it in a most singular manner. As soon as father’s loss became known to them, each one, when traveling up or down the island, would fetch from the shore a smooth white stone such as can oft be found there. These they carried until they passed the place where father had taken farewell of them. There they deposited them. Within days, there was a cairn. In the weeks that followed, you could say, a monument, each stone of it placed with the care of an artisan. The last I saw, it had grown higher than a man, and still the Wampanoag came, one by one, placing a stone upon a stone.
Geraldine Brooks (Caleb's Crossing)
white identity politics has always—always—centered on oppressing others.
David J. Silverman (This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving)
Part of the English strategy was to starve the warring Indians into submission by driving them away from the planting fields and fishing places of their home communities
David J. Silverman (This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving)
the Mayflower landed not in a virgin land but a widowed land. Epidemic disease had already nearly emptied a long stretch of coastline that once thronged with people.
David J. Silverman (This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving)
New England, would face no real Indian challenge. Indeed, the plague helped prompt the legendarily warm reception Plymouth enjoyed from the Wampanoags. Massasoit, the Wampanoag leader, was eager to ally with the Pilgrims because the plague had so weakened his villages that he feared the Narragansetts to the west.28 When a land conflict did develop between new settlers and old at Saugus in 1631, “God ended the controversy by sending the small pox amongst the Indians,” in the words of the Puritan minister Increase Mather. “Whole towns of them were swept away, in some of them not so much as one Soul escaping the Destruction.” 29 By the time the Native populations of New England had replenished themselves to some degree, it was too late to
James W. Loewen (Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong)
If how we tell history is one of the ways we shape our present and future, we can do no better than to rethink the myth of the First Thanksgiving and its role in the Thanksgiving holiday.
David J. Silverman (This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving)
They have mourned how capitalism and Christianity have promoted individualism, acquisitiveness, and selfishness at the expense of traditional values such as community, giving, and modesty.
David J. Silverman (This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving)
In Providence, one of the officers who distributed Indian slaves was the elderly Roger Williams, to whom Ousamequin had provided refuge when he fled the religious persecution of Massachusetts puritans in the winter of 1635–36.
David J. Silverman (This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving)
Failing to come to terms with the hubris and destructiveness of that process—or, worse, seeing it as a glorious part of America’s supposed greatness—conditions the people of the United States to perpetuate those evils in new forms.
David J. Silverman (This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving)
Their triumphant histories portrayed the sachem as having almost single-handedly led his people into a misguided rebellion by virtue of his supposedly savage pride and susceptibility to the devil, only to be crushed by a superior, civilized people favored by God.
David J. Silverman (This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving)
Without any shame, the colonies asked for assistance from the same Christian Indians they had persecuted during the first nine months of the war and received a positive response. The praying Indians, whatever their trepidation, saw this as an invaluable opportunity for their men to prove their worth to the English and secure compensation to ease the suffering of kin still held on Deer and Clark’s Islands.
David J. Silverman (This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving)
woodland, cranberry bogs, hunting grounds, fishing spots, clay deposits, berry bushes, and medicinal plants were available to everyone. The people sometimes gathered as a community to harvest and sell these resources in bulk to fund public services like poor relief. One Massachusetts official, assuming that jealousy and selfishness were naturally the dominant features of all human societies, marveled that these places were “almost realizing the wildest dreams of the communists.”48
David J. Silverman (This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving)
Serious, critical history tends to be hard on the living. It challenges us to see distortions embedded in the heroic national origin myths we have been taught since childhood. It takes enemies demonized by previous generations and treats them as worthy of understanding in their particular contexts. Ideological absolutes—civility and savagery, liberty and tyranny, and especially us and them—begin to blur. People from our own society who are not supposed to matter, and whose historical experiences show how the injustices of the past have shaped the injustices of the present, move from the shadows into the light. Because critical history challenges assumptions and authority, it often leaves us feeling uncomfortable. Yet it also has the capacity to help us become more humble and humane.
David J. Silverman (This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving)
Clarissa, I don’t like to contradict you,” Papa signs sincerely, “but we all started as squatters on this island. In this dispute, the Supreme Court has come down in favor of the Wampanoag of Gay Head.
Ann Clare LeZotte (Show Me a Sign)
The alliance Massasoit negotiated with Plymouth was successful from the Wampanoag perspective, for it helped to hold off the Narragansett. But it was a disaster from the point of view of New England Indian society as a whole, for the alliance ensured the survival of Plymouth colony, which spearheaded the great wave of British immigration to Nee England. All of this was absent not only from my high school textbooks, but from the academic accounts they were based on.
Charles C. Mann (1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus)
In 1621, colonists invited Massasoit, the chief of the Wampanoags, to a feast after a recent land deal. Massasoit came with ninety of his men. That meal is why we still eat a meal together in November.
Tommy Orange (There There)
Because the hostility between the Wampanoag and the neighboring Narragansett had restricted contact between them, the disease had not spread to the latter. Massasoit’s people were not only beset by loss, they were in danger of subjugation.
Charles C. Mann (1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus)
In 1621, colonists invited Massasoit, the chief of the Wampanoags, to a feast after a recent land deal.
Tommy Orange (There There)