When English settlers arrived at Patuxet in December of 1620, the former village was part of an alliance of Native tribes known as the Wampanoag or “eastern peoples”. The Grand Sachem of the Wampanoag, and leader of the Pokanoket, was a Native named Massasoit. Massasoit was a powerful leader who, in March of 1621, was able to forge a peace with the Pilgrims. This peace allowed the Pilgrims to survive the winter of 1621 and build their colony. The peace also created an alliance between the Plymouth settlers and the Wampanoag. Though the peace and alliance was shaken from time to time, Massasoit was able to maintain the good relations with the English settlers. Massasoit remained the Sachem of the Wampanoag until his death in 1660. The Pilgrims who arrived at Patuxet were originally from England. These pilgrims had fled England and moved to Holland because of religious persecution under rule of England’s King James I. Holland, however, proved to be too liberal and difficult for them, so they sought out another place to live. After much debate, they made up their minds to move to America.Following a difficult voyage across the Atlantic, they landed at Patuxet where they formed Plymouth Colony. John Carver was elected as the first governor of Plymouth Colony but he died within a few months. Upon his death, a young man named William Bradford was elected to be the governor of the Colony. Bradford served as governor of the Colony periodically for the rest of his life. He and other pilgrims, such as Edward Winslow and William Brewster, maintained a good relationship with Massasoit and the Wampanoag Natives. So what about the “first thanksgiving”? Well the first official thanksgiving holiday in the United States did not occur until the nineteenth century. The event most commonly called “the first thanksgiving” was actually a harvest feast (a common English event). According to the only primary source that we have from the time period (Fall, 1621) the harvest feast lasted a period of three days. The pilgrims were celebrating and praising God for their good harvest. While the Pilgrims celebrated “many of the Indians” arrived with the sachem Massasoit and ninety warriors. We do not know if they were invited or expected. What we do know is that for the next three days they feasted together, played games together, and hunted together. We also know Massasoit ordered his men to kill five deer which he gave as a gift to Governor William Bradford and several other important men. While the good relations that were enjoyed by both sides on that Fall day (September or October) in 1621 did not last, the very fact that both sides were able to come together and celebrate the Fall harvest is meaningful. The Pilgrims had started out on the right foot and were now reaping the rewards of their patience. America truly has something to be proud of in the “first thanksgiving”.