Puritans and Indians

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NBC News
Event Date:
1620 - 1621
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Video Mini-Documentary
NBCUniversal Media, LLC.
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The Wampanoag Indians help the English Puritans survive at their new colony at Plymouth, Massachusetts. Chief Massasoit and Plymouth Governor William Bradford sign a treaty of peace that lasts more than 50 years and results in the first Thanksgiving.



"Puritans and Indians." NBC News. NBCUniversal Media. 26 July 2007. NBC Learn. Web. 3 August 2019.


(2007, July 26). Puritans and Indians. [Television series episode]. NBC News. Retrieved from https://archives.nbclearn.com/portal/site/k-12/browse/?cuecard=1813


"Puritans and Indians" NBC News, New York, NY: NBC Universal, 07/26/2007. Accessed Sat Aug 3 2019 from NBC Learn: https://archives.nbclearn.com/portal/site/k-12/browse/?cuecard=1813


Puritans and Indians

NARRATOR:  The Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts in December of 1620, had been heading for land granted to Virginia and expected a warmer climate and a chance to replenish supplies.  They were neither hunters nor fishermen, skills necessary for survival.  Many quickly succumbed to starvation and disease.  If the local Wampanoag Indians, led by Chief Massasoit, hadn't stepped in to help, the colony might have perished completely.

Professor EVAN HAEFELI (Columbia University): 

Both the Pilgrims and Massasoit worked out what was effectively an alliance which kept the Pilgrims safe and actually helped protect the Wampanoags against their enemies for several decades, about 50 years.

NARRATOR:  The Indians introduced pumpkins, corn, potatoes, and other local foods to the Pilgrims.  They also taught them how to fertilize their fields, and to plant beans to replenish their soil.  In 1621, the tribe's chieftain, Massasoit, signed a treaty with the Pilgrims, and famously, helped them celebrate the first Thanksgiving after the autumn harvest.

HAEFELI:  Massasoit is famous and well known as sort of one of the first ones within the English colonies who stuck such an alliance, and who managed to keep that alliance functioning and peaceful throughout his life.  And, it wasn't until the next generation that things started to fall apart through no fault of his own.