Skip to comments.Squanto, the Worldly Indian Who Dazzled the Pilgrims. A 17th Century American Henry Kissinger.
Posted on 11/21/2012 7:15:47 AM PST by SeekAndFind
As you gobble your Thanksgiving turkey, imagine being a Pilgrim in March 1621. Hardly four months after the Mayflower reached Plymouth Rock the previous November, you still struggle for food, shelter, and survival in the state of nature.
Suddenly, an Indian reaches your outpost. Friend or foe? What brought him here? How would you ever communicate with him?
And then he opens his mouth. He speaks English! More amazing, he does so with a British accent and the demeanor of someone who had lived and worked among England’s elite.
Who on Earth is this incredible man?
Squanto, a.k.a. Tisquantum, was born about 1580 in present-day Plymouth, Mass. He was a Patuxet Indian, associated with the Wampanoag tribal confederation. After a nondescript youth, Squanto became embroiled in English captain John Smith’s efforts to explore and map what we now call Cape Cod. In 1614, Smith assigned Captain Thomas Hunt to stay behind and trade with the Patuxet and Nauset natives.
Hunt sold several Indians in Spain. However, local friars sabotaged his scheme. They gained custody of, freed, and Catholicized the remaining Indians, including Squanto.
Back home, what the Spanish Franciscans called Hunt’s “devilish plot,” justifiably enflamed the Nauset and Patuxet. French sailors experienced this rage when the Nauset burned their boat, killed most aboard, and enslaved the rest.
Meanwhile, Squanto somehow talked his way to London. He met and lived there with John Slaney, treasurer of the Newfoundland Company. Squanto learned English and mixed with top British shippers and merchants. The Newfoundland Company employed Squanto as an interpreter and expert on North American natural resources.
Squanto soon found himself bound for Newfoundland, where he worked for its governor, John Mason. Thomas Dermer, another ship captain, envisioned the now Anglophone and Anglicized Squanto as a translator and envoy between his justifiably furious Indian brethren and his new, outward-looking British employers. Dermer wrote headquarters about Squanto’s diplomatic potential, whereupon they both were summoned to London to discuss next steps.
In 1619, Dermer and Squanto crossed the Atlantic yet again. Destination: Plymouth. To Squanto’s horror, a suspected smallpox outbreak had annihilated his village. Squanto moved in with the nearby Wampanoag, including its leaders, Massasoit and Squanto’s brother Quadequina.
Dermer left to reconcile separately with the Nauset. Unimpressed, they attacked and captured him. Squanto negotiated Dermer’s release. Dermer sailed away without Squanto. Indians again ambushed him at Martha’s Vineyard. Although injured, he escaped and fled for Jamestown, Va. There, his wounds consumed him.
Squanto met the Pilgrims on March 22, 1621, accompanied by Massasoit and Quadequina. He negotiated peace and commercials ties with the English exiles. Like a 17th-century American-Indian Henry Kissinger, Squanto arranged truces and trade deals between the Plymouth Colony and various regional Indian leaders. This fruitful peace lasted five decades.
Squanto also taught the Pilgrims how to catch eels, plant corn more efficiently, and convert fish into fertilizer.
Squanto got himself in trouble for trying to gain personally by playing the Pilgrims and Indians off each other. Massasoit ordered the Pilgrims to surrender Squanto for execution. A combination of Governor William Bradford’s foot dragging, and more urgent priorities, eventually hushed Massasoit’s calls for Squanto’s scalp. He survived, yet again.
But Squanto’s incredible luck soon ran out. While helping Bradford acquire seed corn for the next season, Squanto’s nose began to bleed while in Cape Cod’s Manamoyick Bay. Squanto called this an Indian death omen. Indeed, he passed away days later in November 1623. Squanto “bequeathed several of his things to his English friends, as remembrances,” wrote Bradford: “His death was a great loss.”
Squanto’s colorful life is among the countless, fascinating treasures that await those willing to learn how ours became the greatest of nations.
— New York commentator Deroy Murdock is a Fox News Contributor, a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service, and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.
Squanto and the Indians were so cool.
Not like William Bradford and those old white guys.
Bradfords pants kept falling down because he wore his belt buckle on his hat.
Normally pants on the ground would be cool but Bradford was just an old white guy.
Thought about Mingo on the Daniel Boone show
after reading this story
Now, there’s a movie I’d like to see made.
Squanto’s mother can be played by .... Elizabeth Warren :)
OK now you owe me a new keyboard.
Disney made a movie about Squanto (fictionalized and sweetened up of course!) and a member of my Tribal Group was commissioned to write the song that Squanto sings when he is faced with a ferocious bear.
Of course, the song was so heavily edited in the film, it was barely recognizable! Oh Well.
***And then he opens his mouth. He speaks English!***
I read a different story of it. A different Indian met the Pilgrims and he spoke English. He said...
“Welcome! Welcome! But wait, I will bring you Squanto who can speak better English than I!”
Sadly we’re infested with takers versus makers so work is slow for this generations Squanto’s .......
Happy Thanksgiving to you Gunner....hope your well and the grub is good.
I’d love to see a short fiction story on a time traveler going back to 17th century Puritan culture and explaining the future:
Visitor: “The future: Homosexual marriage is allowed and they adopt children, Women dress provocatively, half of all births are out of wedlock, men and women shack-up instead of getting married, divorce is rampant, immorality is rampant, the church is declining in numbers and people work on Sunday”
Cut to the visitor being burned at the stake.
That actually is a good idea for a movie to examine our culture.
What’s left of it.
|GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach|
Oh yeah.....Henry Kissenger sure dazzled the Khmer Rouge and Lon Nol and a few million dead Cambodians
Fish in Mekong river most appreciative
Kissinger was a fat old horn dog with a piss poor diplomacy record....no better than Cyrus Vance
I hope you had some good chow. Stay safe, indeed!
While it may not be exactly what you're describing, you might really enjoy Orson Scott Card's Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus.
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