The polity of the sachem was called a sontimooonk or sachemship.
It is therefore unlikely that it was his birth name rather than one he acquired or assumed later in life, but there is no historical evidence on this point.
The name may suggest, for example, that he underwent special spiritual and military training (as a pniesesock, or otherwise), and for this reason was selected for his role as liaison with the English settlers in 1620 (see below).
William Wood noted in his 1634 report that "to speake paradoxically, they be great eaters, and yet little meate-men …" Stanford nutritionist M. Bennett concluded that 60% of their daily caloric intake came from grain products and only 10% from animal or bird flesh (as opposed to more than 20% in the average diet in mid-20th-century America).
The proficiency at horticulture allowed the southern New England Natives to accumulate enough surplus not only for their own winter needs, but also for trade (especially to northern native bands), and as the English settlers repeatedly sought, to relieve their distress for many years when the harvests of the English proved insufficient.
No records exist of his activities from that time until his famous encounter with the Mayflower settlement in 1621.
Squanto's chief fame resulted from his efforts to bring about peaceable contact and alliance between the English Separatists and other colonists who had come aboard the Mayflower and the Pokanoket.
Unlike the native inhabitants living in northern Maine and Canada where the annual growing season was insufficiently long to reliably produce maize harvests (and they, as a result, were required to live a fairly nomadic existence Although their habitations were relatively mobile, being made of striplings fixed in a circle in the ground with their tops tied by walnut bark (with hole for smoke from central fire inside), covered with mats of reed, hemp and hides, the one main migration of the entire population of each tribe (including women and children) was a biannual one and took place only from winter residence (in warmer forested areas) to summer habitation (near the cornfields) and back again.
Maize and other cultivated vegetables made up a substantial part of the Ninnimissinuok diet.
The standoff between the English colonists and the Pokanoket over Squanto increased Native hostilities around the colony's borders.
It also put a stop to the colony's trade for native food at a time when its own store was becoming depleted.
Socially the groups that made up the Ninnimissinuok were hierarchically stratified and presided over by one (or sometimes two) sachem (ordinarily a male but women could act as sachems when male heirs were absent).