|Kids Reenacting the First Thanksgiving|
Of course if you look at the theme photo above, growing up this was the common story theme I experienced at Pepper Drive Elementary School as to the history of the Thanksgiving Celebration. Never once was there any admission or revealing of the truth that mattered that ultimately followed this neighbourly dinner event between different cultures. Of course as the official historical narrative tell us, the first Pilgrims to arrive in New Plymouth and conclude a mutual peace agreement treaty with Chief Massasoit, the paramount chief of the local Wampanoag Indian tribe. In the treaty the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag promised not to harm one another, and they formed a mutual alliance for each others protection in case of war with outsiders. Without Chief Massasoit’s friendship, it is highly unlikely that any of the Pilgrims would have survived. These Indians (Native Americans) gave the first settlers native corn to eat and to plant, and the alliance with them helped to prevent the Pilgrims’ perishing at the hands of other tribes.
In the early days, the colonists received much help from the Indians. In the words of then Governor William Bradford, an Indian named Tisquantum taught the colonists:
“how to set their corne, wher to take fish, and to procure other comodities, and was also their pilott to bring them to unknowne places for their profitt.”(the spelling as in original document - American Colonial Prose: John Smith to Thomas Jefferson (1607 - 1865) by Mary Ann Radzinowicz )
The first harvest of Indian corn was good, and the Pilgrims had success in hunting game birds. They (Puritans) were grateful to their God and decided to hold a three-day harvest festival. Massasoit and 90 of his braves came, bringing along five deer to add to the banquet. This is the most common historical version and this part is true. Unfortunately, these previously persecuted Pilgrims (Puritans) from Europe had mistakenly believed that it was their God had given destiny and God-given right to take over and occupy these lands in this New World. This same justification of course was played out over the next few centuries by Europeans seeking fame, fortune and looking to provide ligitmacy of the most horrific actions taken against other human beings during the height of Imperial Colonialism across the planet. Even Darwin provided a twisted version of scientific justification behind the white European foreign land aquisition and occuptation. Seems there is enough inconvenient truth to go around for both sides.
(see also: An American Thanksgiving)
|The Granger Collection, New York|
(Source material below)
Metacom, also called Metacomet, King Philip, or Philip of Pokanoket (born c. 1638, Massachusetts - died August 12, 1676, Rhode Island), sachem (intertribal leader) of a confederation of indigenous peoples that included the Wampanoag and Narraganset. Metacom led one of the most costly wars of resistance in New England history, known as King Philip's War (1675 - 1676).
Metacom was the second eldest son of Massasoit, a Wampansoag sachem who had managed to keep peace with English colonizers of Massachusetts and Rhode Island for many decades. Upon Massasoit's death (1661) and that of his eldest son Wamsutta (English name Alexander), the following year, Metacom became sachem. He succeeded to the position during a period characterized by increasing exchanges of Indian land for English guns, ammunition, liquor, and blankets. He recognized that these sales threatened indigenous sovereignty and was further disconcerted by the humiliations to which he and his people were continually subjected by the colonizers. He was, for example, summoned to Taunton in 1671 and required to sign a new peace agreement that included the surrender of Indian guns.
Metacom's dignity and steadfastness both impressed and frightened the settlers, who eventually demonized him as a menace that could not be controlled. For 13 years he kept the region's towns and villages on edge with fear of an Indian uprising. Finally, in June 1675, violence erupted when three Wampanoag warriors were executed by Plymouth authorities for the murder of John Sassamon, a tribal informer. Metacom's coalition, comprising the Wampanoag, Narraganset, Aenaki, Nipmuck, and Mohawk, was at first victorious. However, after a year of savage fighting during which some 3,000 Indians and 600 colonists were killed, food became scarce, and the indigenous alliance began to disintegrate. Seeing that defeat was imminent, Metacom returned to his ancestral home at Mount Hope, where he was betrayed by an informer and killed in a final battle. He was beheaded and quartered and his head displayed on a pole for 25 years at Plymouth.
|Norman Rockwell's Thanksgiving Day Feast Painting|
|Photo: Eugene Bochkarev/123RF|
|Image . Landon Nordeman|
Some Further Reference Reading of interest on Native Americans:
Q & A from website Allexperts.com
"I Welcome Questions - I Hate Assumptions," by Chris Clarke - *cough-cough* - I mean by 'Red Haircrow'