The Proof is in the Pudding: New England's First Food Fight

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"That in a vacant soyle, hee that taketh possession of it, and bestoweth culture and husbandry upon it, his Right it is"'

 - Rev. John Cotton

As they waited aboard their ships before leaving for the New World, a thousand Puritans heard Reverend John Cotton speak of how "God Makes Room for the People." Though it sounds harmless - even hippie-like - to our 21st century ears, this statement paved the way for years of conflict between Native Americans and Puritans over the land and the food it provided.

The expansion of Puritan farmland after their arrival in Boston in 1630 often came at the expense of Native Americans – the very same people whose food had helped to keep the newcomers alive through the first hard winters. The Puritans’ pigs literally ran “hog wild” and trampled countless Native American crops.

Is Indian pudding a symbol of Yankee tradition, or an appropriation of Native American history? Two of the top scholars in the field will present the complex and harsh reality behind the idealized picture of history of Indian-Puritan cooperation.


Nathaniel Sheidley, historian and director of public history, Bostonian Society


Katherine Grandjean, professor of early American history at Wellseley College; author of American Passage

Lorén Spears, executive director of the Tomaquag Museum in Exeter, Rhode Island, member of the Narragansett tribe

Light refreshments will be served prior to the program. Because space is limited, an RSVP is required at


About Boston Charter Day:

Each year, The Partnership of Historic Bostons commemorates the naming of Boston, Dorchester, and Watertown on September 7, 1630 and holds a series of free public history events about the early days of Massachusetts Bay Colony.  The theme for 2015 is Food and Drink in 17th Century Boston.  For a full list of all the events please visit