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 greatly reduced the Nauset even before large-scale colonization of New England. The pilgrims encountered the Nauset during their landing near present-day Provincetown, where the Nauset, wary of foreigners, tried to resist. The pilgrims are also noted for stealing maize from Nauset graves they encountered, further escalating tensions between the two groups.
The Nauset were the colonists' greatest allies. Before King Philip's War, most were Christianized and aided the colonists as scouts and warriors against the other tribes. Despite this, they were confined to Praying Villages. Their numbers, always small, were reduced, but the addition of other American Indian tribes after King Philip's War and intermarriage with other settlers preserved Indian lineage. Although no longer distinct as a tribe, most of the Mashpee Wampanoag band are descended from Nauset people, who currently number 1,100 people and are federally recognized (as Wampanoag).
- Nauset Regional High School is located in North Eastham, within the boundaries of the Cape Cod National Seashore, and serves students from Brewster, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, and surrounding towns.
- Nauset Regional Middle School is located in Orleans, and serves students from the same towns as the high school.
- Nauset Light Beach is located in North Eastham.
- Nauset Beach is located in Orleans.
- Swanton, John R. The Indian Tribes of North America.
- Hodge, Frederick W. Handbook of North American Indians. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Press, 1910.