Many of the Indians were looked down upon by the whites, but some Indians helped the whites survive. Squanto was one of those Indians. He helped the Pilgrims survive in the New World, through his compassion and good witted spirit.

Squanto was born somewhere in New England in the late 1500s. He was a member of the Patuxet tribe, and spent some time with the Wampanoag tribe.

He spent three years in New England working as a servant for John Slanie. Squanto still wanting a way home asked Slanie to help. Slanie found a ship captain who was making a voyage to the New World. It was 1619, when Squanto arrived back in North America. Squanto acted as an interpreter in the dealings between the Indians and the captain of the ship. He was finally allowed to begin his journey home. Squanto was away from the Patuxet tribe for 10-12 years.

When Squanto went to where his village used to be, his family was nowhere to be found. He later learned that a great sickness had struck his people, and everyone had died. He was the last of the Patuxet tribe. He was invited to live with the Wampanoag tribe. The chief of this tribe was Massoit. Squanto lived with the Wampanoag tribe until he heard that the white men were building a city nearby. The year was 1620 when the Pilgrims arrived. It was not until December when the Pilgrims decided to settle at Plymouth. The Pilgrims had no idea that the Patuxet tribe once flourished there.

In March Massasoit thought that it was time to meet the Pilgrims. So Massasoit and Squanto arranged for a meeting between the Pilgrims and themselves. The meeting lead to a treaty that was a sign of mutual peace, friendship, and would also become a military alliance. This meant that if one of them was getting attacked the other would come to their aid. The treaty was in effect for over 50 years. None of the Pilgrims ever got hurt or was even attacked by an Indian. When the Indians left from the meeting, Squanto decided to stay and live with the Pilgrims.

Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to farm. He taught them how to plant Indian corn and other vegetables. He also taught the women how to cook the corn. Squanto helped Pilgrims to make friends with other Indian tribes. He was such a great help, William Bradford declared him a special instrument sent from God to help them survive.

Squanto stayed with the Pilgrims for 18 months. When he returned to his tribe he challenged Massasoit for leadership of the tribe. He did not win, and all it did was make most members angry with him. After the election he was considered to be an enemy of the Wampanoag tribe. Squanto died of a fever in 1622, but is still remembered today as a key figure in American folklore. He is a symbol of Thanksgiving. If Squanto had not been there to help the Pilgrims, it could be possible that none of them would have survived.

Work Cited

1) Encyclopedia of World Biography. Edited by Suzanne Michele Bourgoin and Paula Kay Byers. Copyright 1998. Gale Research: Detriot. Volume 14. 286, 387, 388.

2) Focus on the Family -- The Legend of Sqaunto. January 3, 2002,http://www.radiotheatre.com/product/squanto

3) Squanto. Monday, November 13, 2001. http://user.aol.com/calebj/squanto.html

4) The Massachusetts Colony. Fradin, Dennis B. Copyright 1987. Pegensteiner Publishing Enterprises Inc: Canada. 52

5) Tisquantum (or Squanto). Monday, November 12, 2001. Caleb Johnson 1997. http://www.mce.k12tn.net/indians/famous/squanto.htm

By: Adam M and Derek B
Return to the Colonial America Projects Page