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(wäm'pənō`ăg), confederation of Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock (see Native American languagesNative American languages,
languages of the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere and their descendants. A number of the Native American languages that were spoken at the time of the European arrival in the New World in the late 15th cent.
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). In the early 17th cent. they occupied the region extending E from Narragansett Bay to the Atlantic Ocean, including Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. The Wampanoag were sometimes referred to as the Pokanoket, from the name of their principal village. When the Pilgrims settled (1620) at Plymouth, the Wampanoag, although reduced by the pestilence of 1617, were powerful, living in some 30 villages. Their chief, MassasoitMassasoit
, c.1580–1661, chief of the Wampanoag. His name was Ousamequin (spelled in various ways); Massasoit is a title of leadership. One of the most powerful native rulers of New England, he went to Plymouth in 1621 and signed a treaty with the Pilgrims, which he
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, was very friendly to the settlers. His son, Metacom (Philip), however, was the central figure of the deadliest war with the colonists, King Philip's WarKing Philip's War,
1675–76, the most devastating war between the colonists and the Native Americans in New England. The war is named for King Philip, the son of Massasoit and chief of the Wampanoag. His Wampanoag name was Pumetacom, Metacom, or Metacomet.
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 (1675). The victory of the English brought ruin to the tribe. The Wampanoag were harried almost out of existence, the remnant consolidating with the Saconnet. However, in 1990 there were over 2,000 Wampanoag living in the United States, most of them in Massachusetts. The Wampanoag were of the Eastern Woodlands culture area (see under Natives, North AmericanNatives, North American,
peoples who occupied North America before the arrival of the Europeans in the 15th cent. They have long been known as Indians because of the belief prevalent at the time of Columbus that the Americas were the outer reaches of the Indies (i.e.
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See M. A. Travers, The Wampanoag Indian Federation of the Algonquian Nation (rev. ed. 1961).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Our modern storytelling of the first Thanksgiving often neglects the extreme suffering of the Pilgrims and Wampanoag. I cannot help but think that a few sanitarians equipped with the basic knowledge of our science could have prevented many of their deaths.
The state Commission on Indian Affairs recognizes 11 tribes and bands, all connected with three major tribes--the Wampanoags, Nipmucs and Ponkapoags.
According to a recent PBS documentary on the Pilgrims, the helpful gesture was motivated by a desire to form a military alliance with the Pilgrims, who had firepower, against the Narraganset and Massachuset tribes, who sought to annihilate the Wampanoag after the tribe had been decimated by disease brought by earlier settlers.
Nitana is Mashpee Wampanoag and specialized in culturally-based education at Boston College.
Sayet presented highlights of her 140-page Harvard University master's thesis ''Moshup's Continuance: Sovereignty and the Literature of the Land in the Aquinnah Wampanoag Nation.''
The film opens with shots of numerous Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard Wampanoag-language place-names on street signs, a stark reminder that the geography of the area is still marked in Wampanoag despite its supposed demise as a living language.
(Presumably these are members of the Wampanoag Nation, although that's a matter for the film's historical consultants to sort out.)
The pilgrims found the Wampanoag people using this approach when they first arrived in Massachusetts.
Consider this passage from early on in Caleb's Crossing: our narrator, Bethia Mayfield, a young Puritan growing up on present-day Martha's Vineyard, describes a group of Wampanoag teens--a group that includes the eponymous Caleb Cheeshahteumauk--playing a ball game:
Brooks creates a complex tale based on knowledge that, in 1665, a young Wampanoag man was the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College.
We Still Live Here / As Nutayunean is an extraordinary DVD documentary about a cultural revival among the Wampanoag Tribes of Cape Cod, known in history as the tribe that aided the survival of the Pilgrims, originating the holiday known as Thanksgiving.