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Table of contents

Karen Kupperman, Historian: The animals that the English bring with them are incredibly devastating because they let them run loose. The pigs in particular had apparently no natural enemies here. They would talk about, you know, enumerable numbers of pigs just vacuuming up the acorns and the other things on which Native people relied for food and on which these animals that the Native people were accustomed to hunt relied for food.

Richter, Historian: The population of the English colonies was growing dramatically, with an increasing demand to establish new towns, create farms and expand. The one thing that Native People have that the English people want is their land. Calloway, Historian: Access to an acquisition of this so-called "free land" that the Americas offer is a source of constant and recurrent conflict with Indian people.


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The English came from a society where land was in short supply. Ownership of land was a mark of status as well as a source of wealth. For Indian people, land is homeland. You are rooted to it by generations of living on the land, your identity is tied up in it. It's not a commodity to be bought and sold. Narrator: Massasoit had not felt pressured to sell land for the first twenty years of Plymouth's existence and his first commitments to cede territory had seemed harmless. But just as the English became more aggressively acquisitive, Massasoit found himself in a weak bargaining position.

The beaver population was badly depleted, collapsing the trade on which his relationship with the Pilgrims had been built. And the English no longer needed Massasoit's help in expanding their commercial reach. So he was forced to bend to his allies' desire to have his land. The chief got what he could for the Wampanoag land. He sold one parcel for ten fathom of beads and a coat. Jenny Hale Pulsipher, Historian: There are several incidents where Massasoit's clearly disgruntled with the way things are changing.


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For instance he agrees to sell some of his land to some of the settlers down in Rhode Island. And they pay him for it and he says, "This is this is nowhere near enough. And they refuse to take it.

They refuse to take the gifts, the payment back. And they say, you know, "You can't return this and this is a done deal. This, this land is now ours. Narrator: The English were in a race to establish empire in the Americas Karen Kupperman, Historian: They're very expansive and they don't expand incrementally. They're aware that the Connecticut River is a major conduit of trade. The Dutch are already on the lower end of the river and so clearly they want to control the Connecticut River from its midsection.

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Calloway, Historian: With the influx of English people in the s Puritan New England ceases to be weak and vulnerable and now becomes a power in the region. As they look further west, they see another major power.

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The English identify the Pequot as an obstacle to their expansion. Narrator: In the spring of , Massasoit received word that a force led by Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth colonies had destroyed the Pequot — the most powerful Indian confederacy in the area.

Cherokee Indians and the Trail of Tears

In the final battle, English soldiers — to the horror of their Indian allies — had burned an undefended village, killing hundreds. The idea of people — men, women, and children — perishing in the burning of a fort was incomprehensible to Indians. It was a cautionary tale that Massasoit did not forget.

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Narrator: Soon after the destruction of the Pequot, Massasoit traveled to Massachusetts Bay Colony to deliver to its governor, John Winthrop, a gift of sixteen beaver skins, and to re-state his long-standing friendship with the colonists Jenny Hale Pulsipher, Historian: Massasoit hopes that this tribute is going to solidify his friendship with Massachusetts because he's worried and he's not the only one.

Winthrop writes in his journal that after the Pequot war dozens of Indian groups in the area come to Massachusetts to the court and try to make friends. Say you know, we, we want to be your, your friends, your partners, your subjects, whatever it takes. They're, they're frightened.

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Narrator: Massasoit's eventual heir — his second son — was born around the time of the Pequot War, and nearly twenty years after the arrival of the Pilgrims. He knew no world but the one in which English and Wampanoag lived together. Even his names would suggest a man comfortable in two cultures. Narrator: He was first called Metacom, and later Philip. He came of age in the s He fancied fine English lacework, and richly detailed wampum. He was one of the few Wampanoag who kept pigs.

And he counted among his close friends both Indians and Englishmen. Richter, Historian: He was described by an English traveler as walking through the streets of Boston decked out in massive amounts of wampum showing his wealth and his power, comfortable walking in this world that had been created together by the English and the Native People of the region. Narrator: As he approached manhood Philip was more and more aware of his father's growing unease. Massasoit's tribal borders had receded in around Narragansett Bay. Disease continued to thin the Wampanoag.

His trusted ally, Edward Winslow, had died. The new leadership in Plymouth had little memory of the time they had needed Massasoit's help. Jill Lepore, Historian: When do the English lose their sense of openness? Well when they become more independent. When they realize that they no longer need the Indians. And right around that same time, in the s, they make one attempt to convert the Indians to Christianity. Which is to say, in effect, "Well if you're gonna live among us, you need to basically become us, because we can't live with people who are different from ourselves.

In Natick, as in the dozen praying towns that followed, Indians who converted to Christianity were assured physical security and the promise of eternal life You had all these rules that were alien in concept, and native people had to do everything in the English way; and everything Indian, of course, all the traditions that were sacred to your fathers and your father's father since time immemorial, you had to reject all of that in favor of following the English way. So you had to look down on your own people, essentially is what it boiled down to. Jessie Little Doe, Mashpee Wampanoag Linguist: Wampanoag people here got the idea that somehow if we are to survive at all, we've got to at least say that we're assimilated; we've got to say that we're Christian.

Whatever that means, or we're going to be wiped out completely. That you believe yourself to be saved. Praying Indian 1: I heard that Word, that it is a shame for a man to wear long hair, and that there was no such custom in the Churches; at first I thought I loved not long hair, but I did, and found it very hard to cut it off; and then I prayed to God to pardon that sin also.

I loved to pray to many Gods.. Then going to your house, I more desired to hear of God Praying Indian 3: I see God is still angry with me for all my sins and He hath afflicted me by the death of three of my children, and I fear God is still angry, because great are my sins, and I fear lest my children be not gone to Heaven.

Calloway, Historian: The English missionaries demanded from Indian people much more than an expressed belief in their God. It was part of an English cultural assault, which Massasoit must have seen was tearing apart many native communities, and I think that's why he wants to try and curb the missionaries, try and stop this kind of assault taking place.

Narrator: As Massasoit's days drew down, he made a point of stipulating in land deeds that Christian missionaries stay out of what remained of Wampanoag territory. Having watched the English erode his tribe's landholdings and his father's authority, Philip determined to make a marriage of power. He wed a woman who was a leader in her own right. Calloway, Historian: Massasoit must have wondered what kind of world he was handing on to his sons, to his children. I think there's a certain resignation in some of his actions toward the end of his life — an attempt to stem the tide of English assault on Indian land, on Indian culture, on Indian sovereignty, and a lingering hope that maybe things will still work out okay.

Maybe there can still be peace, because I think that was his vision of what New England would be, was a vision of peace.

Cherokee Genealogy Queries – May 1998

Narrator: Massasoit died in the early s, forty years after his first alliance with the Pilgrims. His passing came just as a new hard-edged generation of English leaders was rising to power. Men like Josiah Winslow, Edward's son, who was intent on hastening the final reckoning between the Wampanoag and the English. Philip — just 24 years old — took his father's place as the Wampanoag chief.