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Updated: Nov 23, 2023


In1620 the Wampanoag high chief, Massasoit, made a peace treaty with the Pilgrims, and we can thank them for our initial Thanksgiving gathering and celebration.

These were peoples who spoke Algonquian languages. The Algonquian were one of the most populous and widespread North American native language groups.

They historically were prominent along the Atlantic Coast and in the interior regions along Saint Lawrence River and around the Great Lakes. North American Indians who formerly occupied parts of what are now the states of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, including Martha’s Vineyard and adjacent islands. They were traditionally semisedentary, moving seasonally between fixed sites. Maize was the staple of their diet, supplemented by fish and game. The tribe comprised of several villages, each with its own local chief, or sachem.

Thereafter, Colonists in New England regularly observed “thanksgivings,” a day of prayer for such blessings as safe journeys, or abundant harvests. Americans model their holiday on a 1621 harvest feast shared between the Wampanoa people and the English colonists known as Pilgrims.

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