The Wampanog Indians lived in the northeast region of the island. They settled there in 1620. They were the first people on Nantucket. They made their houses out of sapling trees, animal skin, and bones, Nantucket was a good fishing and hunting ground. Nantucket was small and wooded. The Wampanoags lived in peace until the white people came and gave them a disease called yellow fever. The last Wampanoag died in 1854. His name was Abrem Quary.

What is the history of the Wampanoags?
by 7th Graders Beth Valero and Jen Stafford

It was the Wampanoag Indians who shared their Thanksgiving harvest with the Pilgrims in the 1620s. It was the Wampanoags who gave the Pilgrims indian corn, squash, and beans, thereby insuring the survival of the first permanent European settlement in New England, the Colony of New Plymouth. The Wampanoags taught the Pilgrims about the lay of the land and how to protect themselves from the harsh winters.

The history of the Wampanoag Indians began long before the 17th century and long before any European set foot on the North American continent. Twelve thousand years ago, the earliest inhabitants of northeastern North America were leaving marks on the land. They were known to their neighbors as the pokanoket which means "place of clear land." The Indians told stories and passed their legends down from generation to generation. They even had a legend about how Nantucket was formed.

The first encounter of the Europeans of the Wampanoag may have been written down in 1524. They grew a few staple crops for food: corn, beans, and squash. Farming, hunting, fishing, and foraging were essential to the day -to- day, and year-to-year survival of the Wampanoag. They survived by understanding and using the wild plants and animals of their region. Some of the same plants and animals are still on Nantucket today.

By the beginning of the 20th century the Wampanoag people were living like any of their non-Indian, working class neighbors. In the 20th century their sense of identity as Indians would be revitalized.

During the first few decades of the 20th century, the Pan-Indian movement was sweeping across the continent. The traditional customs of the Great Plains Indians came to symbolize the new identity of all Indians. In every section of the United States and Canada, Indians adopted Plains Indians dress along with some of that culture's rich ceremonials as symbols of "Indianness". The Wampanoag Nation held its first powwow the following year in Mashpee, MA and have held one annually for many years afterward.

If you are growing up as a Wampanoag in todays society, American Indian history and culture is often ignored by the non-Indian world.



A Wampanoag Legend
The Beginning: How the Island Was Made
from The Nantucket Indians, Legends and Accounts before 1659
by Meredith Marshall Brenizer

There was a time in the dreams of the great-great grandfathers when the land was not here: no blade of grass nor reed, no corn nor tree, no nesting bird was on this place. There was nothing but the sea.

A great giant named Moshop lived across the water with his beautiful wife, Squant, and their many papooses. He was a kindly, wise giant loved by all of his people, but he was so big that it took the whole length of the beach at Cape Cod to make him a bed.

Strange visions came to Moshop one night as he slept. Tossing restlessly, he filled his moccasins with sand and they became heavy. Half asleep, he kicked one moccasin a short distance into the sea. Shrugging himself awake, he kicked the other a long way off toward the horizon. The first moccasin became the island of Noepe - Martha's Vineyard. The second one became the island of Natockete, "the far off place." (Nantucket)

And this is how our land was born