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He eventually was returned his native village and found it destroyed by an epidemic.
His chief fame resulted from his efforts to bring about peaceable relations between the settlers who had come aboard the Mayflower and the Pokanokets.
"[T]he time and circumstances of Squanto's birth are unknown." But given that first-hand descriptions of him written between 16 do not remark on his youth or old age, it has been suggested that a reasonable presumption is that he was in his twenties or thirties when he was forcibly embarked to Spain in 1614, The interrelated societies that lived in southern New England at the time of English settlement attempts at the beginning of the 17th century referred to themselves as Ninnimissinuok, a variation of the Narragansett word Ninnimissinnȗwock, meaning roughly "people" and signifying "familiarity and shared identity." Since the Patuxet had been decimated by disease before European settlement (see below), there are no written records of Patuxet life by first-hand observers.
In such a case reasonable conclusions about a culture's organization and beliefs may be made by reference to other tribes in the same area "which may be expected to share cultural traits." In this case the Southern New England tribes were closely related linguistically (through similar Algonquin languages), politically (by the Pokanoket suzerainty), economically (by trade) and ethnically.
Sachems were advised by "principal men" of the community, called ahtaskoaog, generally called "nobles" by the English.
Sachems achieved consensus through the consent of these men, who probably also were involved in the selection of new sachems (among those within the prescribed degree of kinship to the incumbent).
) – late November 1622 o.s.), more commonly known by the diminutive variant Squanto, was a member of the Patuxet tribe best known for being an early liaison between the native populations in Southern New England and the Mayflower settlers, who made their settlement at the site of Squanto's former summer village.
The Patuxet tribe had lived on the western coast of Cape Cod Bay, but they were wiped out by an epidemic infection.
The proficiency at horticulture allowed the southern New England Natives to accumulate enough surplus not only for their own winter needs, but also for trade (especially to northern native bands), and as the English settlers repeatedly sought, to relieve their distress for many years when the harvests of the English proved insufficient.Second, more gradual but equally profound for the economic and social conditions of the Natives, the trading system engaged in at first by the Newfoundland fishermen, and later, more systematically by the French and English, called, for short, the "Fur Trade," destroyed the previously existing continental intertribal pattern of exchange in which the Natives traded local products in a system of extensive and peaceful commerce.That system was replaced by an economy driven by the demand of the Europeans for one product (animal pelts).Mortality rates eventually rose to 90% throughout the entire continent.
When the English settlers arrived, they discovered that vast swaths of Southern New England, previously prepared for cultivation and settlement by extensive deforestation and land preparation was devoid of all inhabitants.
In addition to the class of commoners (sanops), there were outsiders, wanderers who attached themselves to a tribe or band; this last group had few rights except the expectation of protection against any enemy they shared with the larger group.