Coastal and Inland Homelands, Bastoniak, and Internment by the “City Upon a Hill”
This chapter examines the area around Boston Harbor and how Algonquians as well as Massachusetts Bay colonists engaged in contestations beginning in the seventeenth century. It begins by unpacking how Wampanoag and Massachusett peoples understood such geographies, including the meanings of rivers, maritime spaces, and islands, drawing upon deep-time oral traditions and archaeology. It then follows the arrival of John Winthrop and Puritans into Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630, and how that colonial enterprise began to exert pressures on Native people through epidemic disease, land loss, and imbalanced diplomatic relationships. The arrival of Protestant missionaries such as John Eliot also transformed certain Natives’ relationships to kin networks, homelands, and spiritual affiliations. When King Philip’s War broke out in 1675, Christian-affiliated Natives around the “Praying Town” of Natick, situated on the Charles River, were forcibly rounded up and removed from Natick to an incarceration site on Deer Island in Boston Harbor, where they suffered large casualties. The chapter tracks how survivors of Deer Island navigated a challenging postwar landscape and rebuilt their lives and communities. It also examines New England forms of commemoration in the seventeenth century onward, including literary as well as physical types of memorialization.
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