Jenny Hale Pulsipher, an Associate Professor of History at Brigham Young University, is a scholar who enjoys investigating the many answers to this question. And today, she introduces us to a Nipmuc Indian named John Wompas and how he experienced a critical time in early American history, the period between the 1650s and 1680s.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
Jenny Hale Pulsipher, an Associate Professor of History at Brigham Young University and author of Swindler Sachem: The American Indian Who Sold His Birthright, Dropped Out of Harvard, and Conned the King of England, joins us to introduce us to a Nipmuc Indian named John Wompas and how he experienced a critical time in early American history, the period between the 1650s and 1680s.
As we explore and investigate the life of John Wompas, Jenny reveals who John Wompas was and details about the interesting life he led; The ways in which Wompas navigated both the Native and English worlds of seventeenth-century England and New England; And, why it’s important for us to explore early America through Native American perspectives.
What You’ll Discover
- The “swindler sachem,” John Wompas
- How scholars get at history through Native American viewpoints
- John Wompas’ early life and childhood
- Wompas’ English upbringing
- John Wompas at Harvard College
- John Wompas’ life at sea
- Occupational opportunities for Native American men
- Wompas’ life as a married man
- Native and English ideas about law and land
- John Wompas in England
- How Wompas sought to overturn Massachusetts’ prohibition on Native land sales
- Wompas’ meeting with King Charles II
- Wompas’ return to Massachusetts
- Why John Wompas began to embrace his Native American identity
- Wompas’ claim that he was a Nipmuc sachem
- Ways John Wompas serves as a window on to the early American past
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Jenny Hale Pulsipher
- Swindler Sachem: The American Indian Who Sold His Birthright, Dropped Out of Harvard, and Conned the King of England
- Jenny Hale Pulsipher's Source Website
- Subjects unto the Same King: Indians, English, and the Contest for Authority in Colonial New England
- Nancy Shoemaker, Native American Whalemen and the World: Indigenous Encounters and the Contingency of Race
- William and Mary Quarterly
Meet Ups & Talks
- Albany, New York: April 25 at the New York State Cultural Education Center. Meet up at pre-talk reception.
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin: April 29, 6pm at Zaffiro’s Pizza
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin: April 30, 6pm free public talk at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Golda Meir Library
- Episode 170: Wendy Warren, New England Bound: Slavery in Early New England
- Episode 191: Lisa Brooks, A New History of King Philip’s War
- Episode 198: Andrew Lipman, The Saltwater Frontier: Native Americans and Colonists on the Northeastern Coast
- Episode 199: Coll Thrush, Indigenous London: Native Travelers at the Heart of Empire
- Episode 220: Margaret Newell, New England Indians, Colonists, and Origins of Slavery
In your opinion, what might have happened if the Massachusetts Bay Colony had lost its charter in the 1660s instead of in 1684? How might the lives and opportunities available to New England Indians, including John Wompas, have been different?
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