“We Shall Remain” Short Essay Assignment

1245 words - 5 pages

In the time between 1617 and 1618 a horrible epidemic swept through Wampanoag villages, at maximum maybe leaving 2 survivors in each village. The population of the Wampanoag tribe went from about 2000 to only a few individuals. Only after this crippling blow to the strength of the Wampanoag tribe did Chief Massasoit consider being allies with the mysterious puritans. A relationship that was founded on mutal protection and trading of services and materials necessary to life took a horrible turn. The relationship grew more and more distant as the pilgrims began to show their true colors when it came to dealing with heathen Indians. As the pilgrims became more and more independent of the nurse that the Wampanoag had been they took on a voracious desire for the Indians limited resources.
The Wampanoag first encountered the new settlers in 1621 and at fist they stayed hidden as they looked upon these new people. Chief Massasoit went against the majority’s desire to finish off the English that had lost 45 people during the harsh winter and were struggling to survive. Chief Massasoit had come to power by gaining his peoples respect and leading by example. Massasoit had been deeply affected by the horrific loss of his people to unhappy spirits. Massasoit knew the English came from a land of great wealth and military power. In his mind he thought he could manage this small group of religious pioneers and it would be mutually beneficial. The Wampanoag’s first appearance to the puritans consisted of them asking for a hostage to negotiate a peace treaty and alliance. Edward Winslow was 25, a widower, and had nothing to lose. Winslow conveyed the pilgrims’ desire for peace and their christianly love towards their neighbors. This message was given to the Wampanoag despite the fact that the puritans saw the epidemic of the Indians as God clearing the way for his holy people. The puritans were to establish a community that was “a candle on a hilltop that would shine for the rest of the world to see” and they weren’t going to deal with possible corruptions such as the heathen Indians. Despite all of this Winslow would be instrumental in peace keeping between the two peoples. Winslow spent a considerable amount of time with the Indians and learned their customs was an ambassador for the puritans. Winslow was with Massasoit when the chief fell ill and his support helped create a healthy bond between Indian and pilgrim. After a former English slave named Squanto worked out a treaty between the two peoples they both gathered and celebrated with a feast as friends and partners in survival. The small group remaining that was the Wampanoag tribe needed an ally. The tribe was on the edge of the northeast coast surrounded by much stronger tribes and was vulnerable to their raids. The pilgrims received hunting land, furs, crops and instruction on agriculture, and guides to their new world. At that early point in their relationship they agreed to only trade with each...

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