Why were these names selected for our sponsorship levels? What do they mean?
Ousamequin, Sachem of Pokanoket & Massasoit of Wampanoag
Ousamequin, most commonly known to settlers as Massasoit, was both the Sachem (“Chief”) of the Pokanoket Tribal Nation and the elected Massasoit (“Great Sachem”) of the 69-Tribe Wampanoag Confederacy which consisted of the areas now called Rhode Island, southeastern Massachusetts, and the eastern half of New York’s Long Island.
[Note: This profile defers to his actual name, not his Anglophone one. Contrary to popular belief “Massasoit” is not a given name, it is a title. Though not an absolute comparison, a modern-day example of these titles would be that a “Sachem” is similar to a governor of an individual U.S. state, while the “Massasoit” is similar to the elected president who is the senior governor of the entire United States.]
Weetamoo, Sunksqua of Pokanoket of Wampanoag
Weetamoo (c. 1635–1676), also referred to as Weethao, Weetamoe, Wattimore, Namumpum, and Tatapanunum, was a Pocasset Wampanoag Native American Chief. She was the sunksqua, or female sachem, of Pocasset tribe, which occupied contemporary Tiverton, Rhode Island in 1620.
Queen Weetamoo is known today as the Squaw Sachem. There are parks named in her honor throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island, including the place of her death and where she ruled as Sachem: Swansea, Somerset, and Fall River in Massachusetts and Tiverton in Rhode Island.
In the Algonquian language of the Indigenous Peoples of the Northeastern United States and Canada, Weetamoo’s name means “speak to them”. She lived in Quequechan, now called Fall River, Massachusetts.
Weetamoo was born in the Mattapoiset village of the Pokanoket or at Rhode Island’s Taunton River area,. She was known as a bead worker/quiller and dancer. Her father was Corbitant, sachem of the Pocasset tribe in present-day North Tiverton, Rhode Island, c. 1618–1630.
Because her father had no sons, she became sunksqua, and was defended by an army of more than 300 men that she commanded. Being a woman did not diminish her authority, despite many colonists’ lack of understanding of her position. It has been theorized that some of the lesser known sachems assumed to have been male may have been female sunksquas, especially since female leaders were not unheard of among the Algonquian tribes.
Metacom, Chief of Wampanoag, Sachem (Chief) of 31 Tribe Wampanoag Confederacy
Philip became a great Sachem for the Wampanoag Indians following the 1662 death of his brother Wamsutta (Alexander). He caused the brutal Indian war “King Philip’s War”, between the Algonquin Indians and the New England settlers. King Philip’s War was the bloodiest war in per capita terms – New England at the time had a total population Indians and Colonists, of 80 thousand of which 6 thousand Indians and 3 thousand Colonists were killed, Thousands of settlers became wards of the colonies and refugees on public relief. Other thousands of Indians were enslaved. Indian leaders were killed in battle or executed after King Philip’s War. Indian land was usurped and the Wampanoag nation was destroyed. King Philip’s War constituted a massive and tragic breakdown of colonial civilization. New England stood still for 100 years.