What seemed to be the Puritans attitude about the role Native Americans played in helping them?

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Puritans aboard the Mayflower believed strongly in the "providential view" of history. They believed that God was guiding and directing their voyage to the New World and that all that had occurred happened according to His will. They believed they had succeeded in crossing "the vast and furious ocean" and had arrived safely at Cape Cod because had God willed it. William Bradford wrote of "God's good providence."

After enduring and barely surviving what Bradford termed the "Starving Time" that first winter, the Puritan pilgrims met Samoset, a Native American who spoke broken English. Samoset helped the settlers by giving them information about the area where they had landed and about the native tribes who lived there. Most importantly, he brought Squanto to them, "a native of this place, who had been in England and could speak better English than himself."

Squanto stayed with the settlers, served as their interpreter and guide, and taught them how to plant corn, fish, and "procure other commodities." Bradford wrote that Squanto "never left them till he died." Without the aid of these Native Americans, the settlers most likely would not have survived. The Puritans accepted their assistance with gratitude, believing that their help was part of God's "good providence." Bradford wrote that Squanto was "a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation." To the Puritans, these English-speaking Native Americans represented divine intervention.

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History of Plymouth Plantation

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