Thanksgiving Day - the True History. Myth: The first Thanksgiving was in 1621 and the pilgrims celebrated it every year thereafter. For example: Seek out Native American authors, activists, artists, and chefs, and support in their work. "Participants in National Day of Mourning honor Native ancestors and the struggles of Native peoples to survive today. We do not need that illusion of past unity to actually unite people today. Instead, we can focus simply on values that apply to everybody: togetherness, generosity and gratitude. Thanksgiving, An American Holiday, An American History, by Diana Karter Applebaum, 1984, pages 7-11, tells us the true story of the Pilgrims' Feast in the fall of 1621: "Landing at Plymouth in December 1620, the Pilgrims faced winter without an adequate food supply, sheltered from the elements only by such dwellings as they could build quickly. Most Americans can recall those innocent childhood memories of coloring turkeys, baking pumpkin pie, and making paper pilgrim hats, yet the truth behind thanksgiving is far from innocent, far from peaceful, and far from loving. ( Log Out /  The atrocities against Native Americans did not end with the diseases or massacres mentioned above, so seeing people celebrating the "positive" myth around Thanksgiving can be frustrating and painful for many, especially Indigenous people. Thanksgiving was made an official national holiday by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, thanks to the work of Sarah J. Hale, an editor of a popular ladies magazine of the time. ( Log Out /  Posted on November 20, 2019.Filed under: 17th century America, American history, Colonial America, Truth v. Myth, What History is For | Tags: Abraham Lincoln, first Thanksgiving, Massasoit, Mourt's Relation, Plimoth, Plymouth, Saints and Strangers, Wampanoags | . Most of our Thanksgiving recipes are made with indigenous foods: turkey, corn, beans, pumpkins, maple, wild rice and the like. Ruth Hopkins, a Dakota/Lakota Sioux writer, biologist, attorney, and former tribal judge, breaks down the myths and facts about Thanksgiving and early encounters between Pilgrims and the Wampanoag. Generations of Americans have told themselves a patriotic story of the supposed first Thanksgiving that misrepresents colonization as consensual and bloodless. You can find regional resources here. The only problem was, however, that the Wampanoags were not willing to surrender the sacred grounds that they had called home for 12,000 years. There is a great History.com video that … But that story has been proven to be riddled with mistruths. … Giving thanks, however, has always been part of … And we can make the day about what everybody wants to talk and think about anyway: the food. Tradition has it that the first Thanksgiving – a celebration … So consider this just that—an updated history lesson. They invited … So this feast and celebration was known as a "rejoicing," according to The New Yorker. In reality, the only reason the Wampanoags agreed to help the pilgrims, as history refers to them, is due to the fact the chief, Ousamequin, believed a temporary alliance would protect them against their tribal rivals, the Narragansetts. Most schools teach that Thanksgiving was born when some English religious dissenters, the pilgrims, were struggling to settle in Plymouth and were warmly received by friendly, local Native Americans from the Wampanoag tribe, who taught them how to survive in the New World. That then made it easier for colonizers to take over these lands. For example, some tribes view the holiday as a national day of mourning (shown above); they see it as the day settlers came to their land, spurring decades of violence and mistreatment. The True Story Of Thanksgiving Isn't The One You Learned In School ... what's not often discussed is the truth about the holiday's history and … In fact, this annual festivity has ties to one of the darkest moments in American history, wretched from war, murder, and rampant racism that eco to this very day. Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article. The first national Thanksgiving Day … When planning your Thanksgiving meal, consider buying food or other goods from Native American growers in your area, and make a donation to a local Native organization near you. Connect with friends faster than ever with the new Facebook app. We should embrace this.". For generations, Thanksgiving has been seen as a peaceful holiday where unity and appreciation are most valued, where people come together to celebrate family, friendship, and love. "When you build a lesson on only half of the information, then you are not teaching the whole truth," Larsen adds. There's also the fact that settlers came to the land to kidnap and sell Native Americans into slavery. These cruelties against the Native population repeated over and over, pervading across the continent until between 95 and 99 percent of the American indigiounous tribes had been exterminated. The true reason behind why Tisquantum could communicate with the pilgrims is because he himself was captured by a lieutenant for Captain John Smith and sold into slavery in 1614. Ousamequin, leader of the Wampanoag Tribe, had declared an alliance with the settlers, and members of the tribe were showing up to honor a mutual-defense pact; they'd heard the Pilgrims shooting their guns in celebration and thought they were in combat. The History Channel website states that, “the colonists didn’t even call the day Thanksgiving. "I also propose that what most of us have learned about the Pilgrims and the Indians who were at the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth Plantation is only part of the truth." Combine that with the fact that some non-Natives choose to dress up in things like headdresses in "honor" of Thanksgiving, which many see as a mockery of sacred dress. Thanksgiving, as the United States’ origin story, leaves out painful truths about the nation’s history. They've marked the occasion as a day of mourning for 48 years, according to Native Hope. The truth is that many times when a group was delivered from drought or hardship, a day of prayer and thanksgiving might be proclaimed. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Come Thanksgiving Day each year, many of us give the nod to Pilgrims and Indians and talk of making ready for a harsh first winter in the New World. At its worst, Thanksgiving is an excuse to eat just disgusting amounts of food. Reenacted over and over in classrooms, plays, and movies, the tale of the first Thanksgiving cements mass deception, strengthens stereotypes, and reinforces a bright, positive image of colonialism–a known practice of exploitation and abuse of indigenous peoples and their culture. From then on, Pilgrims celebrated "thanksgivings" in their traditional way of fasting and praying, according to the The New Yorker. In their minds, America could provide them with the “freedom” to build a purely English, purely Seperatist theocracy that had unlimited resources and space to expand their idea of a perfect society. This incident is also often cited as the first official mention of a "thanksgiving" ceremony, and is another commonly cited origin story for the Thanksgiving we know today. When was the first Thanksgiving? we've linked some additional resources below: A Thanksgiving Message from Seven Amazing Native Americans, Indigenous Perspective of Thanksgiving Resources, Like us on Facebook to see similar stories, Coronavirus updates: Minnesota begins vaccine lottery; travelers to US now need proof of negative COVID-19 test, Biden doesn't need to wait to start cleaning up Trump and Pompeo's mess in the Middle East. Thanksgiving day should be known as National Land Theft and American Genocide Day. It can be things such as videos, essays and poems that convey the history of Thanksgiving and the truth behind the genocide and oppression of Native Americans. Lincoln’s first Thanksgiving Day didn't mention Pilgrims. Though there might have been turkey or some other type of poultry served, there was no pie or mashed potatoes, as we have today. For Plymouth colonists, this mistreatment was no different and not even the centuries of misconceptions of their brave and gracious nature could mask the utter horrors committed against the Wampanoag tribe and the rest of the Native American people. Despite attempts to erase them and dilute their identity to make the history of America more palatable, they have survived, adapted, and still exist to this day. The true history was forgotten long ago, and even most of the history books have it wrong. ( Log Out /  Origin of the Term "Thanksgiving" The term Thanksgiving, itself, is linked to the original celebration at Plymouth, among the Plymouth colony and the Wampanoag Native Americans. Other people, like Sean Sherman, founder and CEO of The Sioux Chef and the author of The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, may also have complicated and painful feelings about the holiday, but are offering up new ways to observe it. Though, if any hostility does occur during this widely known amicable time, trivial political arguments around the dinner table are the usual culprit. The Thanksgiving holiday's history in North America is rooted in English traditions dating from the Protestant Reformation.It also has aspects of a harvest festival, even though the harvest in New England occurs well before the late-November … As the Plymouth colony’s numbers and influence grew, their desire for more land also increased. Another simple thing you can do is steer the people in your life away from harmful stereotypes against Native Americans that might appear in your school curriculum, sporting events, or holiday decorations. As The Smithsonian points out, discussions of this event are often centered around the settlers, but Native Americans had been on the land for centuries before, and the story from their perspective obviously far predates this feast. The simplified, sensationalized retelling of clear-cut imperialist greed and ethinic cleansing neglects the generations of pain and oppression–additionally neglecting the Native’s immense perseverance. ... the story you might be familiar with is mired in myth more than truth. Learn why some people choose not to celebrate Thanksgiving and how you can support Native people during the holiday season and beyond. According to “King Philip’s War: The History and Legacy of America’s Forgotten Conflict,” by Eric B. Schultz and Michael J. Touglas, the peace between the Europeans and Native Americans at Plymouth was established under Massasoit, the paramount chief of the Wampanoag, who along with his son Metacom, was at the First Thanksgiving. The first Thanksgiving in 1621 was held to celebrate a bountiful harvest with the tribe that helped make it possible. While you may know that on some level, what's not often discussed is the truth about the holiday's history and the effect it has on many Native Americans. He had learned English while enslaved in Europe for several years; though, he escaped and finally returned to New England in 1619. In the spirit of uplifting Indigenous authors, speakers, etc. To celebrate their success and to honor each other, everyone got together and threw an affectionate feast in which the pil… I learned that in 1637 the body of a white man was discovered dead in a boat. Others pinpoint 1637 as the true origin of Thanksgiving, owing to the fact that the Massachusetts colony governor John Winthrop declared a day to celebrate colonial soldiers who had just slaughtered hundreds of Pequot men, women, and children in what is now Mystic, Connecticut. There's a lot of history behind Thanksgiving, including why we do what we do and when. With that in mind, this meal actually being viewed as the "first Thanksgiving" is up for debate with experts. They would have probably had seafood, as well as a Wampanoag dish called nasaump, a porridge made of cornmeal, which the settlers had adopted. You probably have some vague idea that the Thanksgiving holiday is not quite the rosy picture you read about in school, but the "real origins" of the holiday are not clear cut either. This is the most commonly researched and reported story. The five million natives currently living in the U.S. are a testament to this insurmountable strength and endurance–a truth that should always be remembered on the day that has tried to eradicate it for centuries. This year, shift your approach to Thanksgiving in the classroom by focusing on seeking truth, fostering deep connections with people and place, and centering Indigenous voices and knowledge. The Thanksgiving Day that millions of Americans celebrate, with turkey and stuffing, is a myth. The result is the rendering of a historical event that is more fiction than truth. A prevalent opposing viewpoint is that the first Thanksgiving stemmed from the massacre of Pequot people in 1637, a culmination of the Pequot War. Myth 3: Thanksgiving Was A Major Historical Event Historians believe the "first" Thanksgiving in 1621 was just a regular English harvest celebration, which is … He said the following in a piece for Time Magazine, which you should absolutely read in full: "The thing is, we do not need the poisonous 'pilgrims and Indians' narrative. Armed settlers -- which we tell our children were God fearing, gentle, sharing, kind Pilgrims -- invaded a Pequot village. While the unrelenting hunger for expansion seems contradictory to the pure, asylum seeker narrative the nation has painted, in actuality, the pilgrims strived for much more than “religious freedom.” Before venturing to the Americas, they had found religious freedom in Holland, where they resided–undisturbed–for a decade. Most Americans are taught the same story about Thanksgiving—that Pilgrims sat together with Native Americans to share a meal and thank them for helping with a successful first harvest. The True Story Of Thanksgiving Isn't The One You Learned In School. So when carving the turkey and making the precious pumpkin pie, never forget their history, marked with genocide–and when giving thanks to family and friends, never forget the family and friends who’s lives were lost, and remain, on “Thanksgiving Day.”. Though, if any hostility does occur during this widely known amicable time, trivial political arguments around the dinner table are the usual culprit. History. Instead, the origins of Thanksgiving mark a time in America’s history that almost obliterated Indigenous peoples. Not that the historians agree on what the real Thanksgiving story is. According to The New York Times, the Mayflower did, in fact, bring settlers from England to land which they colonized and renamed Plymouth, MA. Learn about causes that are still affecting Native people, such as healthcare, violence against women, and land disparities. Part of the reason the Thanksgiving story is so inaccurate is because it paints this story of the Natives’ agreement with the actions of the colonizers, justifying their later acts of unjust land grabs and conquering of Native territory. ( Log Out /  Larsen seems to know of what he speaks. Myth: The Pilgrims intended to settle in Patuxet/Plymouth or, alternately, the Pilgrims meant … by Fred E. Foldvary. An instance of this is the story of the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving. It’s almost Thanksgiving, and what would our national … It is a day of remembrance and spiritual connection as well as a protest of the racism and oppression which Native Americans continue to experience.”. In 1621, those Pilgrims did hold a three-day feast, which was attended by members of the Wampanoag tribe. People may not realize it, but what every person in this country shares, and the very history of this nation, has been in front of us the whole time. Listen to and uplift their perspectives and make sure your support goes beyond Thanksgiving and holidays like Indigenous Peoples Day. Here's the untold truth of Thanksgiving. However, protection for their Native neighbors proved to be the last priority on the colonists’ minds. "Thanksgiving day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native people, the theft of Native lands, and the relentless assault on Native culture," says the United American Indians of New England. However, typically, when these settlers had what they referred to as "thanksgiving" observances, they actually fasted. However, like all groups, Native Americans are not a monolith and have different perspectives on Thanksgiving. Several times this happened because of the massacres of Native people, including in 1637 when Massachusetts Colony Governor John Winthrop declared a day of thanksgiving after volunteers murdered 700 Pequot people. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. The Beginning of the Yearly Tradition During the mid-1600s, Thanksgiving, as we know it today, began to take shape. With every story of happy feasts and unity, the true Native American experience is dismissed; with every teaching of the brave, Mayflower colonists in search of peace, the reality of their destruction is ignored; with every fall season, the culture and identity of the Wampanoag people is reduced to craft-store feather hats. Show full articles without "Continue Reading" button for {0} hours. At its best, Thanksgiving is a reminder to think back on the things we love. The Truth of Thanksgiving While children are growing up in America, they are told several tales of America’s establishment and history. As time went on the tale of Thanksgiving shifted to have a more heartfelt sentiment, masking the sinister foundations of colonialism and the country as a whole. The newly settled Europeans also did not invite the Native Americans to their feast. For the next 100 years, every Thanksgiving Day ordained by a Governor was in honor of this “bloody victory.” According to the Penobscot Nation Cultural and Historic Preservation Project, the settlers, after their victory, launched an “all-out genocide” against the remaining Native people, offering 20 shillings for every “redskin”–or Native American scalp–and 40 shillings for every prisoner who could be sold into slavery, including men, women, and children. Change ), Penobscot Nation Cultural and Historic Preservation Project, How HHS Teachers Are Working Towards Equity, The Gaps in Equity Within the Traditional School Curriculum, Huskies Helping Huskies: How Heritage is Making Equity a Reality. The story of the heroic, pioneering pilgrims and obedient Natives bonding over a friendly meal of turkey and cranberry sauce might as well exist in a world of fairies and dragons because it could not be more falsified. The Pilgrims landed in 1620 and founded the Colony of New Plymouth in what is now Massachusetts. We'll give you the best glimpse at what we know, but note: There is a lot of information to digest about this issue and a few supposed origins of the holiday—some of them conflicting. The bloodiest war per capita in U.S. history was the result, King Philip’s War. When Europeans began coming to what is now known as The United States about four years before the Mayflower arrived, they carried foreign illnesses which killed Native people at exceedingly high rates. But for the Christian, the deepest roots of our thanksgiving go back to the Old World, way back before the Pilgrims, to a story as old as creation, with a two-millennia-old climax. After some talk, they decided to spend three days together and join the feast—but this type of coming together did not become a warm, fuzzy tradition as you may have been taught in school. Where the last point is concerned, you can find out the Indigenous history of the land you live on by using resources like native-land.ca. In 1621, Pilgrims held a feast in Plymouth Colony to celebrate their first harvest. Sparked from land disputes, this devastating conflict led to the death of over 3,000 Native Americans, who were also captured and sold into slavery–a common practice of English colonizers. Prayers of thanks and special thanksgiving ceremonies are common among almost all religions after harvests and at other times. For generations, Thanksgiving has been seen as a peaceful holiday where unity and appreciation are most valued, where people come together to celebrate family, friendship, and love. Other nationwide examples include First Nations Development Institute, Native American Heritage Association, and Partnership With Native Americans. Woefully when doing so, he discovered his entire Patuxet tribe dead from smallpox. However, they decided to leave the Netherlands due to the fact that the society was too religiously and culturally diverse according to their standards; they were afraid their children would stop speaking English and become “tainted” from the Dutch, Protestant atmosphere. Factual history behind Thanksgiving The events surrounding the first Thanksgiving are the subject of much debate. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. You can read more about why this cultural appropriation and mockery is hurtful here. However, these stories are generally not told as they actually happened. Although Squanto aided colonists in their autumn feast in 1621, “Thanksgiving Day” was not proclaimed until 1637 when Massachusetts governor John Winthrop declared a day of thanks to celebrate the massacre of 700 Native men, women, and children–during their Pequot tradition of the Green Corn Dance. There are a few different ways to begin, and continue, to uplift Native people and causes close to them, no matter how you feel about the holiday. Truth and myth and the first Thanksgiving. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Find Some Appropriate Thanksgiving-Related Videos. dress up in things like headdresses in "honor" of Thanksgiving, some tribes view the holiday as a national day of mourning, why this cultural appropriation and mockery is hurtful here. The real story, it turns out, is neither as simple nor as consoling as this pared down history would suggest. Popular American conceptions of the first Thanksgiving, though grounded in the truth of a celebratory feast between Native American Indians and the pilgrims, are not entirely accurate. Various dates of the modern-day Thanksgiving holiday had been declared since then and were celebrated by individual states, but it wasn't until 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving, and the holiday as we know it stuck. Tisquantum, or Squanto, widely known in the Thanksgiving story for serving as an interpreter between the Plymouth settlers and Natives, also experienced a life more dark and unfortunate than the fantastical, friendly version retold in classrooms. To them, a thanksgiving was a religious holiday in which they … Today, began to take over these lands as a `` rejoicing, '' according to Native Hope on! 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