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Native American Icon
    (circa 1580-November 1622)
    Born in Near Plymouth, Massachusetts
    Birth name was Tisquantum
    Wampanoag Indian
    Assisted the Pilgrims after their first winter in Plymouth
    He ran a protection racket, taking payoffs from Indian groups in return for promising that the Pilgrims would not attack them or unleash the plague on them.
    Like Pocahontas, he became the subject of a historically inaccurate Disney movie.
    Depictions of the first Thanksgiving inevitably show him bare chested even though one suspects he would have dressed more warmly in late October/early November.
    He was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Spain (1614).
    He was freed by a group of friars, then traveled to England.
    By the time he returned to his home village (1619), he found that his tribe had been wiped out by disease, possibly smallpox.
    He was so important to the survival of the Pilgrims that Governor William Bradford called him 'a special instrument sent of God.'
    In elementary school Thanksgiving pageants, he was a much more fun part to play than one of the Pilgrims.

Credit: C. Fishel


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