Teaching ourselves about Native American history on Cape Cod

Cape Cod’s history is indelibly linked to Nov. 1620 when the Pilgrims landed at Provincetown. In Massachusetts, the Cape and Islands--and in numerous locations of North America--thousands of places are named for Native American peoples, cultures and nations. Yet most of the history we were taught in our schools comes from the European and American perspectives; Native American history is often generalized, glossed over, romanticized--or not taught at all.

This exploration will use historical thinking skills to open a new path of discovery to teach ourselves about the rich, highly advanced and complex cultures that were in North America for thousands of years before European settlement.


Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Click here
Wampanoag's Win Rights to Tribal Land Click here

Readings to Help Navigate the Native Peoples' Story


This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving (David Silverman)
Review of This Land Is Their Land: by Linda Coombs
Review of This Land Is Their Land: by Alina Scott
Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England (William Cronon)
Mayflower: A story of Courage, Community and War (Nathaniel Philbrick)
An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States (Roxanne Dundar-Ortiz)
In the Wake of the Mayflower: The First Encounter (Karen Rinaldo and Kevin M. Doyle)
The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity (Jill Lepore)
Indian New England Before the Mayflower (Howard S. Russell)
The Enduring Shore: A History of Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket (Paul Schneider)

Native Origins

Wampanoag Creation Story with Annawon Weeden

Click here

New Netherlands Creation Story

Click here

Native American Cooking Videos


Click here

The Original Americans

Click here

Relevant Media Articles

Washington Post First Thanksgiving

Click here

Native American Names and What They Mean

Click here


Nathaniel Philbrick's discusses "Mayflower: A story of Courage, Community and War"

Click Here

William Cronon's discusses "Changes in the Land"

Click Here

David Silverman discusses "This Land is Their Land"

Click Here

Jill Lepore's discusses "The Name of War"

Click Here

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz Discusses her book

Click Here

Darius Coombs discusses Wampanoag history

Click Here

Repository of Cool Stuff!

Archive.Org and the Wayback Machine Click here

Local Historical Societies

Brewster Historical Society Click here
Wellfleet Historical Society Click here
Truro Historical Society Click here
Provincetown Pilgrim Monument and Museum Click here
Eastham Historical Society Click here
Orleans Historical Society Click here
Chatham Historical Society Click here
Harwich Historical Society Click here
Yarmouth Historical Society Click here
Dennis Historical Society Click here
Barnstable Historical Society Click here
Sandwich Historical Commission Click here

Local Libraries

Sturgis Library, Chatham Click here
Wellfleet Public Library Click here
Eastham Public Library Click here

Massachusetts Archaeological Society

THE OLD SAGAMORE: Mattaquason of Monomoyick Click here

Primary Sources

Mourt's Relations Click Here
On Plimoth Plantation (William Bradford) Click Here
The Bay - as I see it. - by W. Sears Nickerson Click Here
EARLY ENCOUNTERS - Native Americans and Europeans in New England ---- From the Papers of W. Sears Nickerson by Delores Bird Carpenter Click Here
Land Ho! 1620 --- A Seaman's Story of the Mayflower, Her Construction, Her Navigation and Her First Landfall - edited with an introduction by Delores Bird Carpenter Click Here
Wampanoag language & present day culture: Click Here