The people we know as the Pilgrims had it tough in the New World, and their struggle typifies the pioneering spirit that this great nation was founded upon. Through determination and courage, these brave and hearty folks forged new lives and laid the foundation for our country. In this post, a continuation from the previous, I salute them as some of America’s original survivalists.
Living with the Natives
Though in that area of North America at the time there were no white settlements, it didn’t mean the pilgrims were alone. Quite the contrary. Native inhabitants abounded in the region, and many of them visited the pilgrim’s settlement regularly. Initially there was tension, but necessity forced the pilgrims to make friends. They signed a treaty with the Wampanoag peoples and initiated trades and other friendly interactions. This is significant since the whites were warned before they embarked that the natives were savages, so trusting and befriending them shows us their cooperative mindset.
It’s significant to note that the pilgrims were desperate. They needed to learn how to feed themselves in the unfamiliar climate, and turned to the natives for guidance. From a survivalist standpoint, this is crucial. No man (or woman) is an island. Even the best equipped prepper needs the help of others at times. It takes maturity and humility to ask total strangers for assistance, especially if you initially harbor mistrust for said individuals. Another aspect of this relationship between whites and natives was the religious tolerance the pilgrims employed. Though they were quite pious and believed in converting others to their religion, there is ample evidence that the pilgrims treated the natives with respect and fairness.
Adapting to the New World
Adapting to change is a survivalist’s calling card. That’s what prepping really is all about—being able to roll with the punches and make it through any situation no matter what kind of trouble comes your way. It must be said that the pilgrims had demonstrated as being life long learners. It was evident from their time in Holland where they took on new trades to get by, and in America they learned survival skills from the natives, skills like foraging, fishing, hunting, and agriculture.
Another admirable attribute the Pilgrims had was their determination. As a group they persevered through trying times. They definitely had their difficulties and must have been near hopelessness many times. Sure, some of them gave up along the way, but they are known today for their determination, a trait that survivalists all share.
The Real Thanksgiving
For years most of us have gotten the story wrong. For some reason, whether to glorify the pilgrims’ abilities or to downplay the role of the natives, the real story has been lost in translation. Most of us think the pilgrims had such a bountiful harvest in their first summer that they invited the hapless Indians to their feast of giving thanks to God for their abundance. Not exactly. What happened was almost the exact opposite. The pilgrims did have a relatively good harvest, but they hardly had a feast. Not until the natives showed up (at first ready for a fight after hearing celebratory gunfire and mistaking it for war). The Wampanoags were the ones to bring the real treats to the party. They brought venison (deer meat), wild turkey, rabbit, woodchuck, lobster, clams, mussels, potatoes, sea bass, bluefish, and many other delicacies. But it didn’t end there. The Wampanoags also brought corn, beans, and squash to the feast, and even instructed the Pilgrims on how to prepare the food. The Pilgrims were grateful for the gifts from their neighbors, and the natives who enjoyed themselves greatly.
Through their steadfast resolve to survive, the pilgrims set an excellent example for us today. They planned in extraordinary detail where they could, moved to a largely unknown land, dealt with extreme weather and overcame their fear of the ‘savages.’ Their tale of survival is something from which we all can learn.
Sources: scholastic.com | indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com | stillgettingready.com |