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The Nauset people, sometimes referred to as the Cape Cod Indians, lived in what is present-day Cape Cod, Massachusetts, living east of Bass River and lands occupied by their closely related neighbors, the Wampanoag. Although a distinct tribe, they were often subject to Wampanoag overlordship and shared many similar aspects of culture, agricultural practices, and a common tongue, the Massachusett language. Due to their ocean proximity, they had a greater reliance on seafood than other tribes. The tribe was one of the first to be visited by European seafarers, whose abduction of tribal members for slavery and introduction of diseases reduced the Nauset even before large-scale colonization of New England. The pilgrims' first contact with the Nauset was during their landing near present-day Provincetown, when they discovered a village deserted, the Nauset being away at their winter hunting grounds. Desperately low on supplies, the pilgrims helped themselves to a cache of maize, though they left a note promising to pay for what they had stolen. The promise was eventually kept when the Nauset returned months later. The Nauset also returned a small boy who had wandered away from the colony and become lost, an act which greatly improved relations with the colonists.
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