Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Massasoit

**FLYING CONDITIONS: Partly Cloudy**


The Wampanoag Nation encompassed the region known today as southeastern Massachusetts and into Rhode Island. The Mashpee Wampanoag are The Wampanoag Nation's sole surviving tribe on Cape Cod. While the Cape has recently become a home to many cultures, it has been the homeland, the motherland of the Mashpee Wampanoag for millennia.

The Wampanoag are legendary as peacekeepers. Their storied encounter with Europeans has been primarily focused on the 101 Mayflower Pilgrims, who arrived in 1620, and began to settle in a colony they called Plimoth along the Wampanoag Nation’s southeastern coast. The Wampanoag leader Massasoit (Great Sachem) Ousamequin (Yellow Feather) was a benevolent man and instructed his warriors to just watch the visitors from afar. In less than a year, 49 Pilgrims perished due to illness and their inability to survive in these unfamiliar surroundings.

Witnessing the struggles of the remaining 52 Pilgrims, Massasoit took action. It was a turning point in history, a moment when he could have easily ended a foreign incursion and potential threat to the Wampanoags' ancient civilization. Instead, he responded with biblical sensibilities he instinctively understood without knowing the Bible. He chose to show mercy, respect and kindness to the suffering Pilgrims. He instructed his people to teach them how to live with, be nourished by and protective of Nature’s abundant gifts here.

Their now infamous shared Thanksgiving Feast of 1621 was far different than has been generally depicted. It was actually known then as the Harvest Celebration, which Wampanoag past and present call Keepunumuk, meaning the time of harvest. It is one of many traditional celebrations the Wampanoag have shared each year for millennia.

In the context of history, the three-day Thanksgiving Feast of 1621 was equivalent to an official state dinner today. The hosts were Massasoit Ousamequin and a delegation of 90 Wampanoag warriors in full regalia. The Pilgrims provided vegetables from their first harvest. The Wampanoag provided five deer and assorted wildfowl, from ducks to wild turkeys.

Every element of that momentous gathering was designed to strengthen the bonds of friendship and seal the shared aspirations for peace, liberty and freedom of religion between the Wampanoag and the Pilgrims. A Treaty of Mutual Protection was prepared and signed, affirming their official partnership for peace and pledge to respect and protect one another.

Mere decades later, the treaty and partnership were broken by new waves of foreigners with different ideas, who violated the ancient laws, traditions and values of the Wampanoag Nation. Massasoit Ousamequin's peace plan had held for 50 years. He died in his 70’s, and his son Wamsutta, who was also known as King Alexander, took his place. King Alexander's reign was short and ended abruptly when he was poisoned by new leaders to the rising tide of colonists.

Read more here...

Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah)

No comments: