Thanksgiving: A Day of Mourning

I like to reblog this yearly.

There aren’t just bad people that commit genocide; we are all capable of it. It’s our evolutionary history.

James Lovelock

If you are interested in learning a different story of what happened after the pilgrims reached Plymouth Rock, please read on!

thanks not

Winston S. Churchill — ‘History is written by the victors.’

Those who are indigenous Indians to North America have been misrepresented and effectively banished in American history textbooks in favor of glorifying European colonialism. Why does democracy refuse to teach that thousands of American Native Indians were unjustifiably slaughtered in the name of conquest and imperialism?

From the book The American Tradition.

“After some exploring in 1620, the Pilgrims chose the land around Plymouth Harbor for their settlement. Unfortunately, they arrived in December and were not prepared for the New England weather. However, they were aided by friendly Indians, who gave them food and showed them how to grow corn. When warm weather came, the colonists planted, fished, hunted and prepared themselves for the next winter. After harvesting their first crop, they and their Indian friends celebrated the first Thanksgiving.”

This is what is taught here in the U.S. Some of it is the truth; the Pilgrims did come to America in 1620. Most didn’t survive the first winter because of their lack of stored food and supplies. They did meet Native American Indians. That’s pretty much where the truth ends.

The Wampanoag people did not truly trust whites, having dealt with European fishermen who had enslave or kill them for the past 100 years. However, because it was their culture and religion to help those in need, the Wampanoags took pity on the settlers and helped them. On March 16th, 1621, a Patuxet Indian (neighbors of the Wampanoag) named Samoset met the settlers for the first time. Samoset spoke excellent English, as did Squanto, another bilingual Patuxet because the British had taken them into slavery in the past. Squanto acted as an interpreter for the Wampanoag Indians, led by Chief Massasoit.

The next harvest season, the settlers and Native Tribes agreed to meet for a 3-day negotiation. As the meeting fell during the Wampanoag Harvest Festival, the Native Indian community agreed to bring most of the food for the event. The peace and land negotiations were successful and the Pilgrims acquired the rights of land for their people. This became the base for the Thanksgiving story.

In 1622 propaganda started to circulate about this “First Thanksgiving”. A book called, “Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims in Plymouth” publicized the greatness of Plymouth and told of the meeting as a friendly feast with the Native Indians. The Pilgrims glamorized the situation, possibly in an effort to encourage more Puritans to settle in their area. By stating that the Native Indian community was warm and open-armed, the newcomers would be more likely to feel secure in their journey to New England.

What started as a hope for peace between the settlers and the Wampanoag, ended in the most sad and tragic way. The Pilgrims, once few in number, had now grown to well over 40,000 and the Native American Indian strength had weakened to less than 3,000. Not only did the battles lower their numbers, contagious diseases never seen by the Native Indians were also to blame. By 1675, one generation later, tension had grown between the Europeans and the Native Indians. The Wampanoag called in reinforcements from other surrounding tribes.

Many Native Indian communities throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut rallied with the Wampanoags, but the power of the English was overpowering. After the war was over, the remaining Wampanoags and their allies, were either killed or deported as slaves for thirty shillings each. This slave trade was so successful that several Puritan ship owners began a slave-trading business by raiding the coast for Native American Indians and trading them for black slaves of Africa. The black slaves were then sold to colonists in the south. Hence, the Pilgrims were one of the founders of the American-based slave trading industry.

This is why I will not be celebrating Thanksgiving the same way as in the past. I will still be thankful for my friends and my family. However, I will also remember there’s more than one way to weave a story.

65 thoughts on “Thanksgiving: A Day of Mourning

  1. A very moving post. I always had my suspicions that it was sanitized, especially after reading ‘Bury my heart at wounded knee’…we are all guilty, one way or another. That is the human condition – commit genocide then make an excuse for it and clean it up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I only started researching the European immigration last winter while spending time at a reservation. It’s hard to see the original culture of this land squashed into small areas. If only the Indians were a bit less friendly. .. things would be way different!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I agree Smackedpentax had the sanitized terminology down pat!
      I think everyone sugar coats things a bit too much. I get it.. Who wants to be called a murderer? I also get we, now, didn’t kill Indians or own slaves. However, there are still wars involving the Middle East, Iraq, Somalia, among other areas. This will be our history. I wonder what will be taught in schools 100 years from now?

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  2. You are not on your own. When the white man came to Australia they tried very hard to eliminate the aborigines. The Australian native was not as warlike as the Native American and although there was some resistance they were soon pushed out of their traditional lands. Only recently 1965 did the aborigine gain the right to vote in Federal and State elections.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. For similar reasons, I do not celebrate Australia Day in the way many others do here. Many Indigenous people refer to it as “Survival Day” or “Invasion Day”. Because that date celebrates the arrival of Europeans which heralded a genocide of Indigenous people, there is talk of changing the date to make it more inclusive of the First Australians. To many, the current date of Australia Day is a day or mourning. The only way forward I feel is to acknowledge past injustices instead of hiding them and do everything possible to right the wrongs as history still impacts the health and well-being of our current Indigenous population. Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for another example of history getting ‘prettied up’ so the story doesn’t make the invaders look like savages. I’m sure it’s not much different there. Our American Native Indians were stuffed into reservations. Just like your Indigenous People. Every year, they seem to get more taken away from them, whether it be taxes, land or resources. So sad.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on The Honking Goose and commented:

    In honor of Thanksgiving. I love that we have a holiday just to celebrate thankfulness. But the truth is the origins of this holiday are rooted in a glorified and whitewashed version of the early interactions between settlers and natives. And the ensuing genocide of the First Nations people is a shameful part of our history we’d like to forget. The bright side to this dark moon is that we can choose to remember and pay respect on this day each year to the peoples who were here first.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I appreciate that you posted this piece of history, I had never heard this story before. I have a problem with Monday morning quarterbacks who love to revisit games (history) and play what if? The fact remains that we can pray for the souls lost in the battle. Other than that I will quote a once famous presidential candidate who used these words to explain actions of the past, “what difference, at this point, does it make?”
    If we are to learn anything from this it will be to not allow anyone new into our unjustly established country for fear of catching some strange new disease that will decimate us, and those who resist the scourge can be gratified to know they will lose their lives to the newcomers in the name of God.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the reblog Grumpa Joe! 😆
      Love the quote you mention, as it makes my point easier. It does make a difference to know the true history. Our current, lala land story makes the European immigrants look like they were welcomed wholeheartedly into America. That is a big, fat lie! The European immigrants TOOK the land from the peaceful Native Americans, tribe by tribe. Just look at the whole North Dakota Pipeline debacle happening now… it’s Thanksgiving all over again. Am I against immigration? Not in the correct manner, however mass entrances or forgiveness of illegal entrants? Yes.
      I’m also hypocritical, as some of my descendants surely made it here, but I don’t want it to happen again.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I mostly agree, but in all fairness, grouping them all together and calling them “peaceful Native Americans” is historically inaccurate. The level of peacefulness varied from tribe to tribe and some tribes and native nations had brave as well as violent warrior culture before Europeans arrived here.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Sad, but true. Why tell the truth when you can royally botch up the story to make yourself look better? I’ve found American history to be a disgusting and rotten mess, and I’m concerned what I might find if I try to study other cultures since we really are just following through with human nature. Maybe someday the world will be filled with impartial historians who actually get it right.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re so cute! 😍 I love it when folks like you and I dream that the truth will be the story we learn in the future. But NOPE!
      You’re right. Unless you want to open that can of worms… there are stories like this everywhere in history. That’s why I included the quote, ‘History is written by the victors.’
      I wrote a comment on another blog about the fact that other races (other than blacks) were slaves in the past and got blasted by other commentors that it wasn’t true and even got called a racist. Gesh. Folks need to read other books than what’s taught in school!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yup. The victor’s write the stories, the losers sing the songs. Or that’s how the saying was always told to me. Go back far enough and it’s simply whoever became literate first was the one recording history, and didn’t necessarily paint a complimentary picture of their neighbors.

        I’m reluctant to ask if you were talking about world history or just American history in that discussion. I’ve met folks of both persuasions who wouldn’t acknowledge any other race enslaved at any point in time in any location. Which is not only disrespectful to the hardships of past people, but not very kind to today’s folks trapped in the modern human trafficking schemes.

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        • Yes, I was talking about world history. America is so young 😉
          Throughout history, there were many cultures used as slaves to another culture, either through war or use of the poor folks.
          Slavery has been around a loooong time. The Babylonians were the start of it, at least according to history in the 18 century BC, then came the Greeks, who enslaved their poor. The Romans did the same thing, the slaves were a mix of poor and losers of any battle the Roman’s won.
          In the 10th century, the Mediterranean area became a hotbed of slave activity, where Slavs (so made the name ‘slave’) were a big part of the Russian economy. Muslims didn’t like the practice, yet still continued it in the area.
          Next came England and Ireland… From 1641 to 1652, over 500,000 Irish were killed by the English and another 300,000 were sold as slaves. Ireland’s population fell from about 1,500,000 to 600,000 in one single decade.
          The time of the Irish and African slave trade somewhat blended together, when the Portuguese started raiding Africa. The interesting part… African slaves were very expensive during the late 1600s (50 Sterling). Irish slaves came cheap (no more than 5 Sterling).
          So. Call me a racist because I believe there were slaves of many colors before blacks.
          There are websites-a-plenty that try to debunk that the Irish were ever slaves!
          http://historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistoriesResponsive.asp?historyid=ac41

          http://www.africaresource.com/rasta/sesostris-the-great-the-egyptian-hercules/the-irish-slave-trade-forgotten-white-slaves/

          Liked by 1 person

          • That’s pretty much all the same stuff I’ve read as well. I reckon you’re well aware of the “mulattos” then, where Irish and African were purposely bred together to get the African power and durability at the Irish price tag. Of course, any mixed person was considered a mulatto, but the fact that in our history (and very likely in many others) folks got bred like critters is disturbing.

            One thing that grinds my gears is that a lot of people who are obsessed with how evil slavery is never throw out a mention to the modern day slave trade, unless it’s a passing remark about child labor overseas, and it’s been said today’s human trafficking is worse than it ever was.

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            • I even missed the mentioning the current slave trade situation. It is so horrible that slavery is STILL going on.
              Yes, the forced mixing of people to get a better ‘slave’ is very disturbing. Just like how the English demanded a new wife to first sleep with an English soldier to try to breed out the Irish.
              I think it will be a long time before all slavery is gone from the world. Sadly, I doubt it will be gone before I’m pushing up daisies….

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              • I just realized my past remark might could be taken as a passive-aggressive remark. Apologies if it did come across like that. Not my style. ^^;

                Aye, we’ll likely be warning our grandkids and great-grandkids about it, and then who knows how many more generations after them will come before it’s stamped out. I think the British also did Primae Noctis with the Scots since they didn’t get along with either Irish or Scottish, but that’s been a strangely popular custom throughout the ages and cultures so maybe some other nobles did it with the Scots. I’m glad the British, Portuguese, and Dutch have finally settled down. I think India was the last place any of them hit. I could be wrong. Most of my world history books in school were almost completely focused around the middle east and the Mediterranean, and the rest I’ve learned through documentaries and my own research.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Nope! I did not catch any of the passive-aggressiveness! I’m like a guy, unless you’re blunt, I don’t read into things 😉😉
                  I’ve not specifically done much research on slavery in general, just enough for this post. My studies generally stay with the Native Americans.
                  I do believe many history books are wrong, to paint better pictures of cultures. It’s sad.
                  Like how I see the southern states currently removing statues and landmarks all relating to the Civil War. In 100 years, will the children ever know it happened? We would have ‘erased’ all the physical evidence by then.
                  Thanks for the Latin lesson! (Primae Noctis) One of these days I’d love to learn Latin. I learned a fair amount in horticulture, but crave more!
                  I love how folks say is a dead language… it’s still being used daily… doesn’t seem dead to me! 😆

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                • Awesome, we can both comment freely then.

                  I was very, very suspicious of my history books in college for that same reason. Certain cultures and organizations that are unpopular to like right now only had their bad points brought up, while those that are popular to support only had their good points mentioned. Everything has its good and bad, both should be discussed. Which I figure is what’s causing a lot of the censoring down here with Civil War stuff. There was just so, so much going in that era, but modern politics is only letting half the story get told. Similarly, I didn’t find out until after I was grown that most German soldiers were clueless about the concentration camps, or that they held more than just Jews. For a society supposedly obsessed with equality, we don’t do much equal story telling. I know there is a crapton of stuff in recent history, but a few extra words per story ain’t gonna hurt anything. I’m trying to do more studies on the Native Americans. Including their fairy tales and proverbs, ’cause I’m a big folklore and fantasy nut. Kind of sad I actually had to choose to take a separate course on them in school. Shouldn’t we have as detailed a recount of them as we do the colonies and whatnot since they’re pretty dang relevant to the history of this continent? At this rate, I’m going to end up both home-schooling and home-colleging my kids to make sure they get an accurate education! 😛

                  I took Latin for two years in school. It’s a pleasure, I recommend it if you ever get a chance. Even if some words you have to write about twelve versions for because of pronouns and whatnot. I think there are some open source or free lesson books on Archive.org too, so you wouldn’t have to wait for it to be available at a local college.

                  Liked by 1 person

                • I’ll admit I read into almost everything presented to me in high school. Sort of.. my attention span only included subjects I liked (science & industrial ed) and subjects I didn’t like, I passed with a D+ 😉
                  I didn’t go to college until I was in my late 30’s. It was culture shock IMO! I couldn’t believe how things have changed… even with writing… Anyway, I did change my grades to A’s at least!
                  Got off on a tangent there 😛
                  Love the part you wrote… “For a society obsessed with equality, we don’t do equal story telling.” Exactly!
                  Not trying to give an excuse to this situation, however I can somewhat get the problem of it. If we taught that the European settlers were both evil and neutral when they came here, history would be very confusing. I feel that we’d be rewriting history from day one!
                  Here’s a touchy subject… Why isn’t the Bible considered a history book? What about the Quran? Although I’m not a Christian now, I have studied the Bible thoroughly. It’s only recently that I’ve followed the ‘history’ of the Bible, and realized a few books have been removed over the years.
                  I need a subject change 😝
                  I love love Native American folklore! I’m sure you’ve read some of my posts that I include stories in. I love the Big Turtle and the Sky Girl tale.
                  I’ve also found some free, Latin classes for home schooling on line. I just need to find time to attend 😉 Thanks for the Archive.com lead!
                  I’m trying to learn sign language now… I feel my brain isn’t ‘wired’ for another spoken language… Sign is actually sticking in my brain fairly easy. Now I just need to volunteer somewhere where I can use it. I have no deaf friends.

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                • I had you a mini novel but the internet eated it. 😦

                  Here are two Native American folklore and legend links I was given:
                  http://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/Legends-C.html
                  http://www.native-languages.org/salish-legends.htm

                  I think more folklore, legends, mythology, and religious texts should be considered historical documents. Just because some parts can’t be taken as the gospel truth doesn’t mean they don’t have valuable data. I’m a fairy tale junkie, and I’ve ended up learning a bit more about the daily life of bygone eras through reading that fiction than I have in most history books I’ve come across, unless it was specifically focusing on one culture. Besides, if you must tell history inaccurately, do so fabulously! I’d sooner read about how the twin towers were knocked out by some angry wyverns than some of the misleading cover-ups and conspiracy theories we’ve been given. 😛

                  How to make historical recordings accurate would be difficult, even if you try to strip the emotional bias away and just lay down the facts so the reader could draw their own conclusions. The psychology, sociology, customs, and attitudes of the periods makes for a really complicated mess to write about.

                  Liked by 1 person

                • I hate it when a great, long comment disappears into the beyond before posting 😠
                  Thank you so much for the links! I love the myths or folklore (whatever they call it now) of many cultures. I grew up fascinated with Greek/Roman mythology. Then I was a Holy-Roller, studying the bible, I then moved on to the Native Americans. The fun part is reading similar stories…
                  Just like you said, it would be hard to enter ALL of these as historical documents. Can all views be taken evenly? This is why I also stick with the historical stories being inaccurate, but fabulously written 😉😉
                  I still think the towers were downed by aliens 👽👾

                  Like

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