My object in bringing this work before the public is not only to show that I am a lineal descendant, in the seventh generation, from the great and good Massasoit, whom both the red and white man now venerate and honor, but also to make record of the wrongs which during all these generations have been endured by my race. When the pale face first came to these shores, homeless and helpless outcasts, in the cold month of December, Massasoit was king and ruler over a large part of Massachusetts, with Rhode Island and part of Connecticut. When their scanty provisions were gone, and they were left in a state of starvation, had they not received timely aid from the noble red man they would have perished then and there. But what has been the reward to Massasoit and his descendants, from the time of the landing of the Puritans down to the present hour? Nothing but deception and neglect. For the past twenty-five years I have been seeking redress for the wrongs done to me and mine, by petitioning the Massachusetts Legislature to remove the State's guardianship from my lands and to pay me for the wood cut therefrom by their agent Benjamin F. Winslow of Fall River. In response to my first petition, Gov. Gardner had a committee appointed to hear my case. Mr. Winslow made a report to this committee that $1500 worth of wood had been cut in one winter from the Squim lots; and when asked why he had not put this money in the bank for the benefit of the heirs, replied that he did not know there were any heirs. It seemed as though, when it was thought by him that all the Indians were dead, one was dug right up out of the grave. The State has never paid me for the wood their agent acknowledged to have cut. The reason why I speak of this, is that many of my friends thought that I had been paid long and long ago. They could not believe that the Legislature would be so unjust as not to have paid me that which was rightfully due for wood taken and sold by their agents.
This land is called the Squim lots, because Tuspaquim the second, renamed by the English Benjamin Squinnamay, having fought for them in one of their wars, received this tract in compensation for his services, and he recorded it for his grandchildren. This record was in the hands of B.F. Winslow at the time of his agency, and was shown to me after my telling him who I was.
I have come to the conclusion that Massachusetts does not intend to do me justice through its Legislature. There seems to be no law for the Indian. Before going to my grave I have thought it proper to be heard in behalf of my oppressed countrymen; and I now, through the medium of the printing press, and in book form, speak to the understanding and sense of justice of the reading public. I do not desire to awaken any zeal that is not according to knowledge, and all the facts that are herein presented relating to my ancestry and myself are undeniably true.
The undersigned is authorized to say that the writer of this book deems himself happy in being her assistant in the work. He feels, and has long felt, that the whole white race on this continent are vastly indebted to the aborigines of the country - those who once owned and occupied the fair lands of this western hemisphere - and he most cheerfully joins in doing what little he can to cancel that indebtedness. ZERVIAH G. MITCHELL
I have attempted to type up this book exactly as written, with original misspellings, grammatical errors, etc. It is certainly possible that I have made some of my own or inadvertantly corrected some from the original. If you see anything questionable, please email me at: email@example.com.
I have had people write to me asking me to remove the word "SQUAW" from this book. While I realize that this word is offensive to many people these days, I cannot change the author's words. That word was perfectly acceptable back in the 1800's when this book was written. In fact, according to Understanding Algonquian Indian Words (New England) by Strong Woman and Moondancer of the Aquidneck Indian Council published 1996, the word squa (squaw) meant "a woman, female, human female" in the Algonquian language spoken by these southern New England tribes at the time of the invasion. Also, the word squashim meant "female animal". There does not appear to be anything perverted about that term, despite the rumors of this century. The term Squaw-Sachem was their term for female tribal leader or female Chief, and Sauncksqua (sunksquaw) was the term they used for Sachem's wife.