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Pocasset 


Herring Pond »


Corbitant
Drake: Indian biography. - 1832.
Weetamo c 1635-1676
Drake: Indian biography. - 1832.

Rowlandson, Mary White C 1635-ca 1678  +AOrg
A narrative of the captivity, sufferings, and removes, of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson
 : who was taken prisoner by the Indians; with several others ...  [Boston] : Mass. Sabbath School Society, 1856. - 142 s. 


Pocassets var ett av de viktigare ”banden”, släktgrenarna (ev klanerna, geografiska grupp) av Wampanoagindianernas ”stam”. Det sägs att deras ledare på 1620-talet, Corbitant, kunde samla 300 krigare, vilket skulle betyda att gruppen omfattade cirka 1500 individer. (Eller mellan 150 - 200 storfamiljer). Deras territorium låg strax öster om Pokanokets vilket tillsammans med deras ledares kraftfulla framtoning gjorde att de uppmärksammats i historieskrivningen. Men kanske mest kända blev de genom deras kvinnliga hövding Weetamoo, som bl annat figurerar i den fångenskapsskildring som Mary Rowlandson gav ut. En berättelse som blev sin tids bestseller.
  Corbitant var alltså en man med egen vilja och karisma. Det kunde behövas bland ett folk som härjats av Tarratineindianeras, men vad värre var pestens härningar. Wampanoagernas dominerande ledare var emellertid Massassoit vars släkt (klan?, geografiska grupp) var Pokanokets. Corbitant förde en självständig politik gentemot dessa. Corbitant var en realpolitiker som höll sig väl med de vita av skäl som får sägas vara realistiska. Någon större önskan att hjälpa nybyggarna hade han inte. Hade han sett någon reell möjlighet öppen revolt hade han säkert inte backat. 
Utan tvekan var han den sachem som var tillsammans med Massassoit under hans sjukdomstid 1623, dagen innan Winslow kom till Sowams och försökte förmå Massassoit att överge sin vänliga attityd till de vita. Han sade om man får tro vad Winslow skriver: "if we had been as good friends in deed as we were now in show, we would have visited him in this his sickness, using many arguments to withdraw his affections, and to persuade him to give way to some things against us, which were motioned to him not long before.”  Winslow nämner inte Corbitants namn, men tillräckligt är känt om denne för att göra det sannolikt att det var han. Under sitt besök till Massassoit stannade Winslow till vid ”Mattapuyst” tillsammans med Corbitant på sin väg till Sowams och efter förrättat uppdrag och efter det att Massassoit tillfrisknat så att hans vän kunde återvända hem, så gick han till Corbitants hydda tillsammans med honom och tillbringade natten där. Han talar om hövdingen som en ”notable politician”, men också som en stor skämtare. (yet full of merry jests and squibs,and never better pleased than when the like are returned upon him.” Corbitant var en av åtta sachems som erkände sig som Kung James undersåtar i september 1621. Hans namn stavas Caunbitant på detta dokument.  

  Massassoits äldste son Wamsutta eller Mooanam gifte sig med vad man tror Corbitants dotter Weetamo. Trots att Weetamo blev den kvinnliga sachemen över Pocassets efter Corbitants död ansåg sig tydligen Wamsutta att ha en del att säga till nu efter giftermålet och han sålde Pocassettland (nuv Freetown och mer än hälften av Fall River), ”Freemans purchase” 1659

     Wamsutta, or Mooanam, Massasoit's oldest son, married Weetamo, supposed to be the daughter of Corbitant; and, undoubtedly in right of his wife, seems to have exercised some authority over the Pocassets after Corbitant's death. In 1659 he joined with other Indians in a grant of a tract of land covering all of what is now Freetown and more than half of Fall River to twenty-six purchasers who were free men and from whom the purchase is known in history as the Freemen's purchase. Weetamo is frequently referred to as the Squaw Sachem of the Pocassets, and we will have occasion to refer to her again, as well as to the part played by the Pocassets in King Philip's war.

     The Wampanoags and the Narragansetts appear to have made more progress towards civilization than most of the other Indian tribes, except possibly the Iroquois League of Northern New York. Massasoit dwelt in a lodge at Sowams of a much more substantial character than the ordinary tepees, and Corbitant undoubtedly had a similar residence at Mettapoisett. There is still shown in the town of Warren the Pokanoket's grist mill, consisting of a natural flat table rock into which grooves have been cut or worn by use, where the women of the tribe ground their corn by rolling round stones over it, these movable stones being operated by rolling them like a wheel about a shaft thrust through a hole drilled in the center. From the meal thus produced they made the Rhode Island Johnny cakes, the counterparts of which still tickle the palates of the descendents of the women who learned the art of making them from the Indian women of almost three centuries ago. The Rhode Island clambake, the mere mention of which is still sufficient to call together a multitude wherever that famous repast is known, had its origin with one or the other of these tribes and was known to both. The Indian method of preparing it is still recognized as the one method that gives it the peculiar flavor that cannot be secured in any other way; that method consisting of heating rocks by building fires upon them, and then removing the embers and placing clams, fish and green corn upon the rocks and covering them with seaweed to hold the heat until the whole is thoroughly cooked. Agriculture they had developed to a greater extent than most tribes, for while their cultivation of the soil was crude, they adopted artificial fertilization, which they taught to the whites as we shall hereafter see; and they raised corn and beans in abundance from which they made succotash, a dish originating with them; and they had made some progress in the potter's art

 Corbitant . 

© Staffan Jansson 2017