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Wampanoag Tribe: Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:04 Who Were the Wampanoag?
  • 0:35 Where Are They From?
  • 0:56 Wampanoag Diet,…
  • 1:44 Wampanoag Meeting the English
  • 2:20 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kathryn Miedema Dominguez

Kathryn has taught elementary students for over ten years and has her master's degree in elementary education.

The Wampanoag tribe was a group of Native Americans that lived on the East Coast of North America in Massachusetts. In this lesson, you will learn about their culture and how they shaped the American Thanksgiving tradition.

Who Were the Wampanoag?

You may be familiar with the story of the first American Thanksgiving. As Americans, we believe that the Pilgrims and Native Americans shared a large feast in the early 1600s. At that time, there were many Native American tribes all over North America, but the Wampanoag were the tribe that helped the Pilgrims to survive in a harsh new land. They taught them how to farm, fish, and find materials to build homes. After harvesting the crops, the Wampanoag tribe and the Pilgrims shared a meal. It was this event that established our American Thanksgiving tradition.

Where Are They From?

The Wampanoag tribe had been living on the East Coast in present-day Massachusetts for hundreds of years before the English arrived. They were a very large tribe with many bands spread out in the region. Each band had its own leader called a sachem. The leader of all the leaders was called the Great Sachem. The sachems worked together to make trade agreements among themselves.

Wampanoag Diet, Living, & Clothes

The Wampanoag people were great farmers and grew corn, beans, and squash, like many other Native American tribes across North America. The women planted and harvested crops while the men hunted. Since they lived near the ocean most of the year, they fished and ate seafood, too.

The Wampanoag made their houses from local trees. One common house was built by making the frame with wooden poles and then covering it with bark. These houses were called nush wetu, meaning bark-covered house. They often had fires inside to cook with and keep warm.

Most of the Wampanoag's clothing was made from deerskin. Both men and women wore breechcloths throughout the year, which is like underwear. In the colder months, they would wear a mantle, which is like a shawl that they could wrap around their bodies. When it was really cold, they would wear deerskin leggings and moccasins.

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