How did the Native Americans help the Pilgrims survive?

Question:

How did the Native Americans help the Pilgrims survive?

Pilgrims' Voyage and Settlement in the New World:

Approximately 100 Pilgrims traveled to the New World aboard the Mayflower, setting sail from England in September of 1620. They landed off the shore of Cape Cod, which is in present-day Massachusetts, in November. Many people in the party were seeking religious freedom. By December, the entire group had gone ashore and began what would become the first permanent European settlement in New England--Plymouth.

Answer and Explanation:

Native Americans helped Pilgrims by teaching the Pilgrims how to plant corn, where to fish and where to hunt beaver. Native Americans also served as guides around the area for the Pilgrims, as well as interpreters for colonial leaders and Native American chiefs of nearby tribes.

During the Pilgrims' first winter in Plymouth, more than half of their group perished due to inadequate housing in the harsh weather and poor nutrition. They had arrived so late in the year that they were unable to properly prepare for the coming winter months, and they knew little about how to grow and hunt the food that they would need to survive. The leaders of the settlement, including William Bradford, worked hard during this first year to keep the colonists together and keep their morale up, even in the midst of their dire situation.

Bradford and other colonial leaders eventually formed relationships with nearby Native American tribes, the Wampanoag and Pokanokets, that had lived in the area for over 10,000 years. Squanto, an English- speaking Native American, specifically formed a close bond with the Pilgrims. Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to plant corn, which was an important, life-sustaining crop. He also showed the Pilgrims the best places to fish and hunt. With his help in interpreting and meditating between Native American chiefs and colonial leaders, any conflict that may have arisen between the two groups was avoided.

In a show of gratitude and celebration of their alliance, Pilgrims shared a feast with the Pokanokets in the fall of 1621. Today this feast is considered the basis of the Thanksgiving holiday. With the much needed help from neighboring Native American tribes, specifically their friend Squanto, the Plymouth settlement was eventually able to flourish and thrive.


Learn more about this topic:

Pilgrims Lesson Plan
Pilgrims Lesson Plan

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