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Bradford's Indian BookBeing the True Roote & Rise of American Letters as Revealed by the Native Text Embedded in Of Plimoth Plantation$
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Betty Booth Donohue

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813037370

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813037370.001.0001

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(p.105) 7 Tisquantum
Bradford's Indian Book

Betty Booth Donohue

University Press of Florida

This chapter discusses Tisquantum's role in Plymouth Colony as medicine man, diplomat, and commissioned Indianizer. Tisquantum was a controversial person who, although a Christian convert, was called upon by Osamequin to Indianize the Plymoutheans. His Christian status, however, made him reluctant to carry out the Massasoit's directive. When Canonicus sent him the infamous bundle of arrows wrapped in a rattlesnake skin as a goad to bring the Plymoutheans into the Algonquian ceremonial culture more quickly, Tisquantum found himself in an untenable situation, one that eventuated in his untimely death, a demise possibly occasioned by witchcraft. This bundle, never a declaration of war as Tisquantum averred, was an invitation for the Plymoutheans to become a part of the surrounding Algonquian milieu. Bradford filled it with shot and returned it, but Canonicus did not attack. After sending it a second time, and getting the same result, Canonicus ritually destroyed the defiled bundle.

Keywords:   Bradford, bundle of arrows, Canonicus, ceremonial culture, medicine man, Osamequin, rattlesnake skin, Tisquantum, witchcraft

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