Surviving New England's Great Dying

It’s been more than 400 years since the first Thanksgiving, and there is a lot we are still learning about that time. Just prior to the Pilgrims’ arrival, a plague decimated New England’s coastal Native American population, altering the course of colonialism. This is the story of the Great Dying and of how tribal leaders are learning from the past as they deal with the effects of today’s pandemic.

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Support for Surviving New England's Great Dying is provided by The Butler Foundation

"It isn’t every day that you hear a new fact of American History that upends all you thought you knew, like this documentary does. As a long-time resident of the Northeast, a history buff and supposedly aware person, I was shocked to hear that an epidemic wiped out Wampanoag villages all along the Massachusetts Bay coast between 1616 and 1619, creating the conditions for the Pilgrims to make their iconic settlement there. I even knew Plymouth Rock had been moved, broken, and had nothing to do with the Pilgrim’s first landing place. And that Pizarro’s defeat of the Incas in 1532 owed a lot to a civil war begun after the Inca Emperor died from a disease that the Spanish brought with them to Peru. I had visited Plimoth Plantation and spoken to the Wampanoag representatives there. I don’t remember them telling us that story.
Since seeing “Surviving New England's Great Dying in July, I have done an informal survey of friends and acquaintances, and only one person in the dozens I have asked knew this key to the first European settlements in New England. This story needs to be told. At this time of re-imagining who we are as a country, in an effort to make it “a more perfect union”,” “with liberty and justice for all”, what could be more timely? Not to mention during another pandemic which has killed approximately 1 in 500 Americans."
Barbara Butler, Trustee
The Butler Foundation


Watch More Surviving New England's Great Dying


More Video

Post Screening Panel Discussion

Post Screening Panel Discussion

A moderated a conversation with documentary producers.

Altered History

Altered History

Paula Peters describes how colonialism might have been altered by the Great Dying.

We're Still Here

We're Still Here

Paula Peters reminds us that indigenous people are still strong and thriving.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

Owen Stanwood explains why it's important to know the full story of Thanksgiving.


Set the Record Straight

Set the Record Straight

David Weeden describes how indigenous history was taught to him.

Plagues and Colonialism

Plagues and Colonialism

Owen Stanwood explains how colonialism affected the plague.

Mashpee

Mashpee

Paula Peters explains the history of the Mashpee plantation.

Knowing History

Knowing History

Jade Luiz reflects on how dealing with COVID helps us understand history of disease better

Covid

Covid

Owen Stanwood explains the scope of the Great Dying by comparing it to COVID.

Community Impact of Disease

Community Impact of Disease

Chris Parsons explains how some communities are affected differently by pandemics.

Surviving New England's Great Dying (Preview)

Surviving New England's Great Dying (Preview)

Just prior to the Pilgrims' arrival, a plague decimated coastal Native American population



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