History books forget that which might be considered not socially acceptable.
The first Thanksgiving. In October, not November, 1621. As popularly represented. Though not correct. There had been several Thanksgivings in Virginia before beginning in 1607.
The Pilgrims had arrived in 1619. Things were tough for them the first 3 years. The weather, inadequate housing, lack of food, sickness. Nearby lived the Wampanoag Indians. The Pilgrims and Wampanoags not the best of friends.
The Pilgrims were in desperate need of food. They would sneak into Wampanoag tents, take food, and leave beads behind in payment. This did not rest well with the Wampanoags.
The third year brought fair crops to the Pilgrims. They decided to have a day of Thanksgiving. Their number down to 53. To begin the day, guns and canons were shot by the Pilgrims. The Wampanoags thought the Pilgrim,s were attacking them. They battle geared up and ran towards the Pilgrims.
The problem was readily solved. No attack. A celebration to take place. Why don’t you join us?
The Wampanoags saw the table was next to bare. Little food. They returned to their village and brought their food to share with the Pilgrims. Most of the food eaten that day was provided by the Wampanoags.
Understand that at that moment, things were not kumbaya between the 2 groups.
The menu was not as historically represented. There was no turkey. Perhaps fowl or geese. No cranberries. Sugar a luxury and the Pilgrims were in poor supply.
One thing is true. There was a pumpkin dish. Whether merely a vegetable or pumpkin pie unknown.
More and more settlers arrived in the new world. These followers were primarily Puritans. Religious zealots. To the extreme in most instances.
There were no fences in the new world. The Indian tribes never used them. The Puritans assumed no fences meant the land was free and available to anyone who wanted it. The land was public domain.
The Pilgrims first and then the Puritans had no respect for Indians. The problem existed in 1621 at the time of the purported first Thanksgiving and continued for many many years thereafter.
The 1630’s represent one of the worst times for the Indians.
Note that the cry of the white man in the West in later years was the same, though not precisely as mentioned. “A dead Indian is a good Indian.”
The settlers attacked and continued to attack Indian tribes. Consuming lands which later became known as Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Virginia. Generally by force.
The settlers needed the lands for expansion, farming, community development and the like. Agreements were entered into between the government and respective Indian tribes. As in later years in the West, the white man kept none of the agreements. Which led to conflict between the 2 sides. Wars.
The Pequot War an example. The War 1634-1638.
One of the bloodiest battles took place near what is now Groton, Connecticut.
Seven hundred Pequots had gathered for their annual Green Corn Festival.
The settlers had a practice of not only seizing Indian land, but also capturing the young for slaves, and killing the rest.
In the pre-dawn hours while the Indians were sleeping, the camp was surrounded by English, Dutch and their Indian supporters. Most were clubbed to death. The women and children were placed in an Indian longhouse and burned to death.
Governor Bradford was thrilled with the result. He wrote that “for the next 100 years every Thanksgiving Day ordained by a Governor was in honor of this bloody victory, thank God the battle has been won.”
The Governor said in addition, “It was a fearful sight to see those frying and the fire…..horrible was the stink and scent thereof, but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the prayers thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them.”
Another sick war involving the Pequots took place near Stamford, Connecticut. The Indians were attacked and man’s worst tendencies exhibited. During the fighting, Indian heads were hacked off. Then kicked around the streets like soccer balls. A chief was beheaded and his head impaled on a pole for 24 hours.
The preceding occurred in less than 20 years following the Pilgrim landing. The Puritans the worse sickies. Motivated by their God given faith.
As the settlers became in subsequent years the United States of America, the atrocities continued for many more years as regards the treatment Indians in the West. In every instance, motivated by greed.
So the story goes.
It seems that things rarely change. Can you sense certain today leaders, countries and groups behaving similarly? Not necessarily precisely, but they’re out there!
Before concluding, permit me to wish each and every one of you a Happy Thanksgiving! May you have the good fortune to celebrate the day with family or friends.
God bless you all!