Thanksgiving…..An American holiday. Family time. A happy time.
Its history an interesting story. What began with a Pilgrim/Indian banquet died 50 years later. The Pilgrims by that time referred to as Colonists destroyed the Indian nation they had sat and partied with in earlier years.
The first Thanksgiving occurred in October 1621. A three day event.
We begin with the meal. It was not as most think.
The hosts were the Pilgrims. They invited their Indian friends the Wampanoags to join them. Ninety Wampanoags attended.
The meat portion was not as today’s. Deer, not turkey. The Indians brought 5 deer.
Wildfowl was available in large amounts. Turkey was not in the forefront, though there were some running wild in the woods. The Puritans provided some fowl dishes. Primarily goose, duck and passenger pigeons. Passenger pigeons are extinct today. A few turkeys.
Primary foods provided by the Pilgrims included mussels, clams, lobsters, bass and eels. Fruit was pumpkin. Whether in pie or other form not known.
Corn was the most prevalent vegetable. There were no cranberries. Potatoes did not exist yet in the new land. It was at that time potatoes were first being shipped from South America to Europe.
To drink! Surprisingly, little beer. Even though the Pilgrims had 1 or 2 beer makers among them. Water was the drink of the day.
The fowl/birds served were stuffed with onions and herbs. There was no bread stuffing. There was no bread at the time. Puritan bread was made from maize, not flour.
Many historians believe the Pilgrims would not have survived without the help of the Wampanoags. The Indians taught them what and how to plant and how to survive the cold winters.
The kumbaya relationship did not last long. Greed entered into the picture.
As the years moved on, more and more Europeans traveled to the New World. Such meant the Pilgrims (now referred to as Colonists) had to move inland. The expansion pushed the Indians off their lands. Ceremonial and traditional lands were mutilated.
Indians were considered savages. The Colonists mandated English the language. Even for the Indians to speak.
Missionaries arrived. The move was to Christianize the heathen Indians. Change their Indian beliefs. Interesting in itself since the Puritans had originally come to the New World seeking religious freedom. That which they sought, they tried to deny the Indians.
Sounds like what happened years later in the West. The U.S. needed land for expansion. Beat the hell out of the Indians and moved them off from what originally was their land.
Another Western story. In fact, what is about to be shared is where westerners learned a way to rid themselves of some Indians.
The Colonists brought illness with them. Smallpox and diphtheria. They also played diabolical with the Indians. The Indians were provided with diseased blankets. Blankets that wiped out entire villages.
Things reached a boiling point in 1675 with the King Philip’s War which lasted till 1678.
Prior to the war, a peace treaty was entered into in 1671. By the treaty, the Indians were required to surrender all their guns.
It was agreed that Indian wrongdoers and Colonial wrongdoers were to be punished by their own people, regardless where and to whom a crime was committed. The Colonists failed to live up to the agreement. They hung Indians for every transgression regardless where committed and against whom.
The King Philip’s War almost completely destroyed the Wampanoags and other neighboring tribes.
The King Philip’s War was down and dirty. The Indians downtrodden. The War is considered by historians as the “deadliest war in Colonial American history.”
Interesting how relationships change. Interesting further how greed can be the major contributing factor.
It is said history repeats itself. Note again what happened to the Wampanoags in the 1600’s occurred again in the American west in the 1800’s and early 1900’s.
Enjoy the holiday, your family and friends, and do eat too much!