Thanksgiving: A Day of Mourning 2017

Every Thanksgiving, I like to republish this post and add a few thoughts.

My thoughts surround the removal of Confederate statues. I am against the removal for the fact that the act is removing history from our memories, just as what happened to Thanksgiving. I know most folks think that these statues are tributes to these leaders that fought for things that us modern folks aren’t too proud of. Some folks think they are offensive. Contrary to what many people believe, slavery was not high on the list of reasons for the Civil War.

Although some people think that black Africans were the only slaves in written history, slavery goes back to the beginning of time,  and spans all cultures, nationalities and religions. I don’t understand why some folks think this statement is considered racist. It’s the truth! It may not be easy to find collaborating documents to prove the many different peoples that were used as slaves, as much of this history has been buried in history books, because countries don’t want to be remembered that way. That’s a problem, in my opinion. People will soon forget about why the Civil War was fought and the people that are claiming to be repressed because of it will loose their footing in their arguments.

‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ George Santayana

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

thanks not

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

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

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.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

32 thoughts on “Thanksgiving: A Day of Mourning 2017

  1. Dear Ilex, I remember when you first published this and I congratulate you. There are some things that we have not agreed on, you and I, but no one can doubt you strength and will power and your guts in sticking to your guns, I am proud that I have got to know you, even although it is only through this blog. I trust you will enjoy the day in your own way. God Bless you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Paol! 😘
      As we have been following each other’s blogs for over 4 years now, yes, I think we’ve gotten to know each other pretty well! I love our debates, yes, even if we don’t agree, we respect each other’s opinions.
      The one thing I do believe Thanksgiving is for, is to give thanks for the things and folks we have in our lives.
      Thank you for being a great friend and wonderful blogger that notices the odd things about me, like my nails… haha! 😂🤣😂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow great post with a lot of honest opinions! I’m wondering what are your thoughts of having the statues being put in museums? I’ve heard this idea before and it doesn’t sound too bad

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good day Keira! Thank you for stopping by 😁
      Since I am in the minority as to what folks want to do about the statues… Placing them in a museum is the best ‘Plan B’, opposed to destroying them.
      However, museums are not where folks bring their children, they go to amusement parks in lieu of learning the past. As the statues are ‘out in public’ and viewable, it brings up the topic more often and brings about discussion, opposed to hiding the issue in a dark building.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Great post, and the illustration provides a prompt for hitting the ‘pause’ button and considering how we often sweep uncomfortable stories under the rug while focusing on the sunny view out the window. living in latin america and often studying the pre-colombian cultures, i am often reminded of those ugly stories in history, and i ponder what’s been lost due to burning or melting what was written on those now-lost artifacts.

    I prefer to spend my Thanksgiving/Christmas and New Years in quiet and reflective mode with others who shared those same ‘vibrations’ .. there would be room for you at my table – or on the garden bench!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d love to have a reflective dinner on your garden bench! 😁
      I feel there is a boat load of history we really don’t have ‘right’ because the real stories have been buried. I think archeologists are proving that now with the evidence they dig up.
      I just hope we can change our ways on that. I think the internet will make it harder to hide things. As you know, once on the internet, always on the internet 😉😉

      Like

  4. From a Southern gal, thank you. 🙂

    Slavery and rewriting history are two of the many things that have plagued human existence for ages, and it’s my hope that not only do we someday transcend such awful stuff, but we have the courage to stare the bad parts of our past honestly in the face and remember where we came from so we don’t return there again, and become a better people as a whole.

    And it would be nice if at the very least the Native Americans were fully added back in to our textbooks. I can’t remember any specifics, but I know the tribes around my area played a large role in our diet and some other lifestyle stuff. I assume a similar story in the rest of North America, but so far the only things I can is through oral history or obscure records.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the great comment!!
      You’re right, I do not remember being taught anything about Native Americans in my history classes. Totally omitted, aside from the Thanksgiving story. We only learned about Columbus landing in 1492, then fast forward to 1620 when the pilgrims landed.
      I feel the early government needed to start whitewashing us early, so America would become the ‘everyone is an immigrant’ nation it is now. It irks me that very few folks speak up on this. Surely, because we are immigrants and don’t want to lose our status here. At this point, the story will never change. It would just bring to light the serious injustice brought down on the Native Americans. They really got the bad end of the stick and I really feel for them.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Growing up in England, there was no Thanksgiving celebration per se. We did have a Harvest Festival church service which offered up thanks for the year’s harvest. It seems a shame that it is has developed beyond such a simple perspective.
    As for statues? History is very subjective, but to remove statues is simply propagating narrow view points and intolerance. “John Doe” may have been a rat, but he existed and left a legacy. Whether good or bad, it was still a legacy and should be remembered as such. History is full of individuals who were either great adventurers (or merciless explorers); great leaders (or self-serving egotists) etc. etc. Slavery, discrimination, racial supremacy etc. should all be actively condemned, but history can teach us much… only, however, if we remember it and confront it.
    I am saddened by comments such as “Who were the Armenians?” History is for us to learn from and to remove it, or hide it, is an invitation to a very troubled future.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Celebrating Thanksgiving differently from how you did in the past is no less traditional. In California, those old fashioned notions of Thanksgiving were never that important. We ‘sort of’ learned about it when we were very young, and decorated with all those weird paper cutouts of puffy Puritan children (the boy with a big gun) and a fat and happy turkey, but thanksgiving was really about what ‘we’ were thankful for in our time and place in history, which sounds like your thanksgiving now is.
    In California, we have a lesser but similar dilemma with our history of the Spanish Missions. Statues of Father Junipero Serra sometimes get vandalized. Whether we like our history or not, it is our history, and part of what made our society what it is today. The Japanese American Museum in Japantown in San Jose happens to include artifacts from the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. It is not pleasant, but it is important. Out front, there is even a metallic sign instructing people of Japanese descent to report to register for internment! It is shocking to say the least to realize that such signs were real within the Santa Clara Valley!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great perspective! Yes, I’d expect California to have a bit more history involving the Spanish in lieu of Native Americans. However, I again can’t remember being taught anything about the Spanish occupying the area. Our history books just jumped in right after the immigrants pushed west to settle.
      Yes, things like the old sign regarding where the Japanese needed to register for internment are important for us to see. A reminder to not repeated history!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah that’s good to know 🙂 Dogs are amazing – they heal so well! He’ll need his fur! Little thing 🙂
        I should see my friend’s dog (a Boxer) at class next week – he also had the same op as Breck, but also an implant, as he had arthritic damage? He’s not been back to class yet, as he can get carried away and over do it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, the knee area Breck had surgery on could have many other issues. Breck was lucky to only have the ‘mildest’ injury. Breck’s was due to a trauma, not like arthritis or bone degeneration. Apparently, an injury is easier to recover from.
          If the boxer’s mom is smart, she’ll leave him at home to relax for at least 6 Weeks. It doesn’t take much for a dog to forget they are injured and just take off and hurt themselves again 🤤
          Breck is officially free today at 8 weeks, but I’ll still watch him outside…. make sure he’s not chasing Sparkys! 🐿🐿🐿

          Liked by 1 person

          • haha I’m glad Breck has healed so well, but yes, best be careful still, even tho he must be raring to go! 🙂
            (The Boxer’s mum is also v careful. It’s nearly 2 months since his op and she’ll keep him on the lead. It’s just that our dog class is about to stop for about 5 weeks over summer and we’re all there because our dogs need it!)
            As to chasing Sparky’s – that’s for Wednesday’s post 😀

            Liked by 1 person

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