In an attempt to understand what exactly we are celebrating on Thanksgiving – by gorging ourselves, I’ve read several different histories, none of which is exactly the same. What I have come to understand however is that the colonists (who did not call themselves Pilgrims) and the indigenous people (the Wampanoag Indian tribe) did not sit down at a long table with cornbread and turkey.
Much like the Christopher Columbus fable, the story of Thanksgiving has darker elements which trace back hundreds of years before the arrival of the Pilgrims in Massachusetts. Europeans had started visiting the northeast of what is now the United States by as early as 1480. Christopher Columbus we know claims to have “discovered America” some twelve years later in 1492.
Please take into consideration the fact that I have a long list of things to do today in preparation for my own Thanksgiving celebration, and the fact that the average reader’s attention span when reading my posts typically fades after 200 words. As such, I will cut to the chase so to speak. Brevity rather than historical accuracy is my goal here.
In the year 1614, six or so years before the Pilgrims arrival in “the new land”, Thomas Hunt, an Englishman who anchored in a village near Plymouth called Patuxet, captured 20 or so of the indigenous people- Indians of the Wampanoag tribe. Yes, sadly human trafficking goes way back.
Hunt sailed with his prisoners to Spain. His intention there was to sell his cargo- including the captured Wampanoag Indians. Those who survived the six week voyage were to be sold as slaves. He managed to sell a few when a group of Catholic friars who were outraged at the brutality they had witnessed, interceded and seized the remaining Indians with the intention of freeing them, and converting them to Catholicism.
One of the captured Indians, named Tisquantim, eventually convinced the priests to let him go so that he might try to find a way to return to his homeland. He made it as far as England. There he learned to speak English from a ship builder, and persuaded a group of people that they would find fertile soil and a Walmart if they took him home. (The inaccurate addition of Walmart adds an element of “fake news” to my post which not only makes me current and “sick”, but it is my hope that it will add the gullible and dim witted population to my readership…more is good.)
On the Mayflower, Tisquantim did go home. He was the only Indian of the original 20 captured to do so. What he found when he returned to Patuxet was death. A pestilence had decimated the entire village, blamed on a previous group of Europeans who intended to settle there, but carried disease.
The pilgrims planted, and then suffered a terrible winter, but some survived to see their first harvest. They celebrated that first harvest by shooting off guns and cannons.
These blasts were heard by Indians in neighboring Wampanoag villages of whom approximately 90 men went to find the source. What they found was approximately 25 Pilgrims. It was the Indians land, so they made themselves known. They were distrusting of the Pilgrims, so they stayed to watch them. Days into weeks they watched. Meanwhile they hunted. The Indians ate the meat they had hunted, and the pilgrims had their harvest. They eventually did share food with each other over the course of time, but they did not ever sit down at a long table with cornbread and turkey for one big feast.
In conclusion, nothing we learned in school was true. The reason I am cleaning my house and hoarding food which I plan to cook and serve on Thursday- to my extended dysfunctional family is all thanks to Tisquantim.
There is much more of course that I am omitting: Yellow Feather, John Carver, the Oasmeequin treaty…but I have things to do. For the history as told by the Wampanoag Tribe, please read: IndianCountryTodayMediaNetwork.com .
Enjoy your Holliday.
No time for politics today- although I’m not finished with that subject. Here is the link I’ve been adding to my posts to urge the members of electoral college not to vote Trump on 12/19:
November 22, 2016