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Wampanoag: The People of Dawn - Research Paper Example

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Wampanoag: The People of Dawn
The Wampanoag, or the wopanaak in their own tongue, is a Native American tribe. The name literally means People of Dawn. It can be loosely translated as Easterners too. …
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Wampanoag: The People of Dawn

Download file to see previous pages... The Wampanoags had a big population at the time (1600s), as they numbered in thousands; there were at least three thousand Wampanoags in Martha’s Vineyard. This is because of their excellent farming skills: they cultivated maize, beans, squash and the like. Right now there are about 2000 Wampanoags in the reservation camps in New England right now. They were the first people to encounter the British colonists. For a time, they enjoyed diplomacy, teaching the British how to plant corn and tend animals and farm (particularly tukey) and both cultures enjoyed the famous first thanksgiving. Then the Wampanoag became stricken with a disease, probably from England, as the colonists have brought diseases with them too, and the natives do not have immunity against them. Scientists believe that the disease is leptospirosis. This disease nearly swept the entire population, weakening the civilization, and destroyed the society. Because of the losses in population, the British colonists gained foothold in the land that was once the Wampanoags’. This is further strengthened by King Philips’ War that occurred during 1675-1676 where nearly forty percent of the tribe died. Most survivors of the war were enslaved. II. Language The Wampanoags were fast adaptors and they were very diplomatic, making them easily adapt to new customs and language introduced by the English. This is the cause why the Wampanoags were nearly forgotten as a tribe (during the 1800s). The Wampanoags spoke fluent English by that time and their traditions were nearly forgotten. The Wampanoags, like any other Indian tribe, are also free to marry people from other cultures, races and tribes, making them adapt to other cultures and tradtions. This is especially true after King Philip’s war when there was a great gender imbalance in the Wampanoag society: because there were few men, the women were forced to marry people from different races, making them adapt the new culture and forget their own. No one speaks the Wampanoag language today. However, there are attempts to revive the language of the Wampanoags. The Wampanoag language (or simply Wampanoag) is also called Massachusett, Pokanoket or Natick. The language is not spoken today as a native tongue, but many people, especially native Americans are studying it for their tradition and knowledge, and for the betterment of their culture. The Wampanoags were very adept at language learning. In fact, the first Bible that was published in the colonies was translated into Wampanoag by the Wampanoag scholars under John Eliot. Many Wampanoags are literate. They had their own alphabet, letters and the like to make their own legal documents; to have an effective autonomous society. Right now, as the Wampanoag has its reservation camp, they are autonomous: they have their own government, legislation and services and it acts like they are a small country. But since they are living in America and they are Americans, they should also respect the American law. In Massachusetts and Martha’s Vineyard, there are about roughly 500 Wampanoags living there but there are a lot of Wampanoags living elsewhere. There are even Wampanoags in the Bermuda region; they were the descendants of those who were traded as slaves. III. Groups There are at least ten groups of Wampanoags that are recognized. They are: The Gay Head (Aquinnah), Assonet, Chappaquiddick, Mashpee, Nauset, Nantucket, Patuxet, Pokanoket, Pocasset, and Herring Pond. According to scholars, there are fifty more subgroups of Wampanoags. These groups are considered Wampanoags because they share the same culture, traditions and language. However, each of these groups is autonomous. Unlike the Iroquois (who ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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