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Colonization is a complex issue that has plagued the United States even before its official founding. White Europeans claiming the land as their own from the native population and stripping the former identity from the indigenous people is a story that has been repeated over and over again. My home state of Massachusetts has a particularly interesting story of colonization because it was one of the most prominent early colonies founded by the English. 
    Massachusetts is the Commonwealth in which the Mayflower landed, as well as the Pilgrims. The Massachusetts Bay Colony was one of the original English founded settlements in 1630 by the Puritans from England under the command of King Charles I (Massachusetts Bay Colony). John Smith, an English colonist, named the state after the Massachuset tribe which had previously presided over the land for many years. The intention of establishing this colony was to generate commercial business and expand English political domain and power across oceans (Massachusetts Bay Colony). The Puritans established Boston, Charlestown, Dorchester, Medford, Watertown, Roxbury, and Lynn and ruled these communities with a theocratic government; “with the franchise limited to church members” (Massachusetts Bay Colony). Leaders including Reverend John Cotton prevented religious independence and any who opposed this were banished. By the mid-1640s, the Massachusetts Bay Colony had grown to more than 20,000 residents, and the indigenous people of the Massachuset tribe had either been killed off or converted into laborers for the Puritans. 
The North American Indian tribe called the Massachuset was distributed along the Massachusetts coast and had more than 3,000 members living in 20 villages in the area in the 17th century (Massachuset). These individuals were part of the Algonquian language and cultivated corn (maize), hunted and fished and collected other wild plants and vegetables. The tribe moved seasonally to different locations to get the most out of their environment dependent on the time of year and the conditions. Before colonial settlement of the area, the tribe was demising due to the ongoing war with another tribe in the area called the Tarratine (Massachuset). The Massachuset tribe was mostly killed off due to a smallpox epidemic in 1633, which killed their chief. The rampant disease was first identified when the Puritans arrived in the area and became so deadly because these colonists who came from England spread this disease to the native people who had never been exposed to this particular virus, and they were also exposed to many new materials, food, animals, etc. which proved to be deadly; an unintentional but devastating situation caused by colonization of their land. Additionally, Christian missionaries, most notably John Eliot, converted many from the Massachuset tribe against their will and their tribal identity was stripped, the state of Massachusetts even took the tribes name for themselves (Massachuset). Today there is only one federally recognized Indian tribe in Massachusetts, but many other tribes still exist but are not recognized by the government and receive no special protection, rights, or funding (Massachuset). 
I reside in a town outside of Boston called Needham. In the early 1640s, colonists began to explore the area, settled there and began to grow their crops including wheat, barley, and rye, and even Indian corn (needhamma.gov). Previous to the English colonists entering the area, what is now known as the town of Needham was occupied by a Native American tribe that was ultimately forced off their land for “10 pounds in cash, 40 shillings worth of corn, and 50 acres of land” (needhamma.gov) decision made by tribal leader William Nehoiden after being politically and socially forced to do so. This is very interesting to me because before this research, I never knew that there were native people living in the town before its official founding, it is not something that was taught in elementary history class or books on the subject cannot be found in the town library. Additionally, my town contains predominately white residents, the fact that dates back to its European takeover and subsequent removal of the Native Americans who had been living on the land for many years before. 
    Colonization is apart of many countries’ histories and places a huge part in the history of the United States, but is something that is rarely taught or spoken about. The dehumanization of indigenous people and their land is something that many history books like to push to the edges and justify this act with great discoveries or business ventures made by the people why gave no regard for other human beings due to their skin color, origin, or any other factor that made white Europeans feel as though they are superior. This problem is still one that plagues the U.S today in every town and state and can be dated back to its founding and domination of another community. 

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