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Timeline / Colonizers and Resistance / AD 1621: Wampanoag people save Pilgrims

AD 1621: Wampanoag people save Pilgrims

The Wampanoag people, the “People of the First Light,” are responsible for saving the Pilgrims from starvation and death during the harsh winter of 1620–21. The age-old Wampanoag respect for nature and for using the bounty of land and sea makes it possible for the Wampanoag people to share their provisions with the Pilgrims. Their generosity is the basis for the story of the first American Thanksgiving.

“We have lived with this land for thousands of generations—fishing in the waters, planting and harvesting crops, hunting the four-legged and winged beings and giving respect and thanks for each and every thing taken for our use. We were originally taught to use many resources, remembering to use them with care, respect, and with a mind towards preserving some for the seven generations of unborn, and not to waste anything.” —Nanepashemet (b. 1954–d. 1995), Wampanoag

Land and Water