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Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Moshup The Giant

Hi dear friends and followers today's offering is the Wampanoag legend of   Moshup the Giant. I hope you all find it to be interesting

Pennacook women

At this time a reminder about the relationship between the Native American Peoples and boundaries and maps seems in order. The original citizens of America did not live in individual states or rigidly marked territories as we do today. They did not believe in the private ownership of land. It was their position that the land owned them, and not the other way around. This made the boundaries between peoples and tribes rather fuzzy by comparison to state lines and national borders. Most tribes shared the land unless they were at war, which did not happen all that often and was not undertaken lightly. (The subject of Native Americans at war with one another can easily be the subject of a thesis paper or dissertation!)

This outline map of the State of New Hampshire shows the presence of two Native Peoples. The dominant People of the region were the Abenaki, whose home area went from New England into the Canadian Provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. This does not rule out their presence in Ontario but the were not likely a dominant culture there.

The Pennacook People were a tribe within the Wampanoag Nation that was once the dominant People of Massachusetts. Did you know the name "Massachusetts" is an Algonquian People word? It comes from the Wampanoag word Massachuset, which means "by the range of hills." The Wampanoag People were not the only native people of this region, however.

It was the Wampanoag who greeted and befriended the English pilgrims at Plymouth Rock in 1620. The gifted the pilgrims with corn and turkeys and helped them to survive the first winter, for which the pilgrims gave thanks. Then the relationship went sour as the English desired to own the land upon which they were settling and did their best to swindle it from the Wampanoags, with the assistance of much alcohol. Eventually a war ensued and the Wampanoags were decisively beaten and many sold into slavery. Those who remained free hid. There are about 2,000 of their descendants living in Plymouth County, Massachusetts.

I have not been able to find anything about Wampanoag mythology on the Internet. However, I did find this Wampanoag legend that has been retold by one Deborah Champlain.

Moshup the Giant

Before the first European settlers came to this land, there lived on the coast of Massachusetts a giant named Moshup. Moshup lived among the Wampanoag People both on Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard. There are many tales and variations to this story about Moshup, but the one that we like the best goes something like this:


Moshup, a Wampanoag giant who once lived on the mainland of Massachusetts, decided one day to settle down on the beautiful island of Martha's Vineyard.

Moshup loved to sit on the top of the hill on the Vineyard near a town now called Gay Head. There is still evidence of his grand seat there in the crater above the cliffs.

Moshup loved whale meat, which he would catch with his hands, then cook over a fire he made by ripping the trees that surrounded him out of the ground. He did so much of this that there are barely any trees left today in the town of Gay Head.

To catch the whales, Moshup threw stoned into the water to step on, and that is how the rocks between Cuttyhunk and the mainland called Devil's Bridge came to be.

Moshup also loved the People who lived nearby him, and he would share his whale meat with them. He fed them so well that one year they gathered all of the tobacco they had harvested and gave it to Moshup to show their appreciation.

In his great pipe, Moshup smoked the tobacco, which was barely enough for a man his size; then he emptied the ashes into the water, and that is how the island of Nantucket came to be.


One day Moshup told the People that a new breed of man, with fairer skin than theirs, would soon be coming to their land. He warned the People not to let them on their shore, for if they did, the Wampanoag People would live no more.

Then Moshup quietly slipped away into the choppy waters off the bay. Soon after, pale faced men came ashore, and landed near the place where Moshup once lay. The Wampanoag People greeted them with friendship and let them stay, and Moshup has not been seen since that day.

You are also invited to share your thoughts and comments, they are greatly appreciated. Thank you and have a wonderful day

ڰۣIn Loving Light from the Fairy Ladyڰۣ

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