Date of Award

8-1-2017

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

History

First Advisor

Carr, Kay

Abstract

AN ABSTRACT OF THE THESIS OF Hannah J. Schmidt, for the Master of Arts degree in History, presented on May 23, 2017, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. (Do not use abbreviations.) TITLE: Surviving Plymouth: Causes of Change in Wampanoag Culture in Colonial New England MAJOR PROFESSOR: Dr. Kay J. Carr The following research investigates the relationship between the Wampanoag tribe and English colonists of Southeastern Massachusetts throughout the seventeenth century. The Wampanoags, under the leadership of grand sachem Massasoit, were the first people to befriend members of the Plymouth Colony upon their landing in Massachusetts Bay in November 1620. The relationship that was built between the two groups was instrumental in establishing English colonial rule throughout the region that would later expand beyond Massachusetts. The dynamics of this relationship and the subsequent political, economic, and cultural dominance of the English throughout New England led to massive changes in Wampanoag culture and practices. Because of the early timing and unique closeness of their friendship, it is necessary to examine the Wampanoag tribe’s interactions with the colonists as a distinct experience that is, in many ways, specific to their tribe and cannot wholly be a depiction of larger relations between the English colonists and Native American groups of the period. The distinctive nature of the Wampanoag-English relationship is also particularly enlightening to the conflicting dynamic between native perspectives and practices and that which the English colonists brought with them and later imposed. The ideas of each group informed how they interacted with each other throughout the seventeenth century. Upon the establishment of English dominance throughout the region, the ideological frameworks within English settler-colonialism, in conjunction with environmental and other economic influences, threatened traditional Wampanoag culture and practices and led to an immense transformation in Wampanoag ways of living that was both willingly and unwillingly adopted.

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