Summer Guide Cape Cod

Summer Guide Cape Cod 2021

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Page 121 of 131 120 T oday, Mashpee is known for sandy beaches, bustling summer tourism and thriving local business; but to many, the town's most prominent feature lies in its rich Native American history. The Mashpee River Valley has been home to the Algonquian-speaking Mashpee Wam- panoag tribe for over 10,000 years, as several generations of natives learned to fish, whale, hunt and farm in the town touching the Atlan- tic Ocean. These indigenous people, originally known as the 'Marshpee' tribe, are one of only three remaining Wampanoag groups from the initial 69 that once existed. Today, over 600 town residents are direct descendants of Wampanoags, or the 'people of the first light'. The Wampanoag's Fight for Land Cape Cod's Indian tribes were suddenly and severely impacted during the 1600s. First, an outbreak of smallpox and the Great Plague of 1616 killed hundreds of natives, and forced the tribes to gather together around the local shores. The dwindling population was not prepared for what would happen next. In the mid 1600s, English colonists began settling throughout the New World, an arrival that forced many Native Americans to abandon their land, but not without a fight. In 1678, King Philip's War, often referred to as Metacomet's War, took place between New England-based Native Americans and English colonists. The war resulted in a victory for the English, and death to an additional 40 percent of the Wampanoag tribe. After the battle, Native Americans were evicted from their land on Cape Cod, but found safe haven in the town of Mashpee. In 1669, a missionary from Sandwich named Richard Bourne bought the parcel of land, and Mashpee: A Town Rooted in Native American History By Jessica Branco In 1901 school children and teachers take a moment from the school day for a photo. Courtesy of Frank Lord and the Mashpee One-Room Schoolhouse Preservation Council

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