When Did the Pilgrims and Native Americans Meet?

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On Dec. 6, 1620, the Pilgrims encountered their first Native Americans, who were hostile members of the Nauset tribe. After their first winter at Plymouth Colony, on March 16, 1621, a Native American named Samoset walked through the Pilgrims’ village and spoke with them in English.

About 20 tribesmen were abducted from the Nauset, which led to their hostile engagement with the Pilgrims. Samoset was a Eastern Abenaki Native American from the modern-day state of Maine. Samoset had met numerous English fishermen and captains who taught him how to speak English. He was visiting the local Wampanoag chieftain Massasoit and, upon hearing of their arrival, went to greet the Pilgrims. He brought five Wampanoag men to trade deerskin, but it was Sunday, so the Pilgrims refused, giving them some food instead. On March 22, 1621, Samoset returned with Tisquantum, commonly known as “Squanto,” the last member of the Patuxet tribe, whose village the Pilgrims then inhabited.