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    (D.C. Youth Issues Examiner: Dismantling Thanksgiving myths: a Native American story)
    Dismantling Thanksgiving myths: a Native American story
    _ 4 comments _
    (D.C. Youth Issues Examiner: Dismantling Thanksgiving myths: a Native American story)

    (D.C. Youth Issues Examiner: Dismantling Thanksgiving myths: a Native American story)

    November 17, 1:45 PM
    by Aisha Ali, _D.C. Youth Issues Examiner_
    (D.C. Youth Issues Examiner: Dismantling Thanksgiving myths: a Native American story)

    (D.C. Youth Issues Examiner: Civil rights leaders smile from Heaven over Obama victory)

    The First Thanksgiving, painted by _Jean Leon Gerome Ferris_
    (Jean Leon Gerome Ferris - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) (1863- 1930)

    In less than two weeks, Thanksgiving will arrive. The need for celebration
    may not come as easily for those who have lost their homes and have suffered
    many misfortunes throughout the year. However, one should be thankful for just
    being alive, shouldn´t they?
    Nonetheless, I view Thanksgiving differently from others, even before this
    current economic crisis. While I always have expressed "thanks" for the many
    blessings God has bestowed upon me, with underserved communities experiencing
    destitution, living in substandard housing, being unable to properly care
    for their children; to afford health care; or to just overall survive, how
    could I be happy? To know many people would be homeless or starving on
    Thanksgiving certainly does evoke a "warm, light-hearted feeling".
    The lives many Americans have experienced within the past few years,
    especially within the past year, have been the "ordinary" lives of many individuals
    for quite some time. Yes, the desolate life of others does intensify my
    gratefulness; however, as is the case with many middle-class Americans, my family
    has always been two or three paychecks away from homelessness. Still, this
    suffering of which I think on Thanksgiving does not discriminate me from
    others, as I am quite certain other Americans share the same sentiment. My view
    of Thanksgiving differs given my ethnic background as an individual of both
    African- and Native American descent. It is for this reason I always have held a
    jaded view concerning Thanksgiving, knowing its true history- or the true
    Native American story-- has yet to be published in many American history books.

    In my eyes, Thanksgiving has never been about the Pilgrims-- and to many
    Americans, I question if this is their sole source of celebration, as many
    people blindly celebrate holidays and have no clue of their history. Although I am
    sure many people celebrate Thanksgiving as a way to express "thanks," for
    me, Thanksgiving serves as another remembrance of how my Native American
    ancestors were maltreated; annihilated; ousted from their land; and consigned to
    reservations, eradicating every trace of their pre-existing life.
    Thanksgiving rehashes memories of how the hospital staff, in its refusal to
    treat my great-great grandfather, sent him home to die from pneumonia because
    he was Native American. Thanksgiving reminds me of how my great-grandmother
    had "to pass" as a light-skinned black person to avoid being forced on a
    reservation. When thinking of Thanksgiving, I recall how my Nation, the
    Cherokees, was forced from its land in Georgia, leaving a "Trail of Tears." As I sit
    around with my family and share thoughts while eating on Thanksgiving, I
    think of how the very ingredients with which my food was prepared, had been once
    picked by the hands of my Native American ancestors who served as slaves in
    North Carolina and the Caribbean. Needless to say, I also think of my African
    ancestors who toiled away in the fields to pick the very foods with which my
    food was prepared. America, to me, is not the "Land of Pilgrim´s pride,"
    but should be and is to me, the "Land of Native American pride".

    The national holiday, "Thanksgiving," was not initially created in the way
    most Americans have come to know it.

    The history of Thanksgiving

    Prior to European settlers, North America consisted of 10-16 million Native
    Americans. Some researchers say there may have been nearly 30 million Native
    Americans, prior to European settlers. Long before _Governor Winthrop_
    (John Winthrop - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) of _Massachusetts Bay Colony_
    (Massachusetts Bay Colony - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) proclaimed the first
    Thanksgiving, Native Americans of North America had harvest celebrations for
    centuries, praising the "Earth Mother" who bestowed upon them herds for hunting,
    aquatic bodies for fishing, and plentiful crops for harvesting. Although these
    harvest celebrations differed for each tribe across North America, there was
    still a common belief amongst Native Americans that a "spiritual" being or
    force had blessed them with life and longevity.

    For hundreds of years, before Pilgrims had arrived in the "New Land" in
    1620, Native Americans of North America encountered English and Spanish slave
    traders, who had raided their villages. Needless to say, when the first set of
    European settlers landed on Plymouth, Native Americans were a bit
    apprehensive of having the Europeans on their land. However, _Tisquantum_
    (http://http// , who is widely recognized as "Squanto" in
    American history, spoke English and was able to communicate with the Pilgrims,
    realizing they were sick and hungry. Thus, Tisquantum decided to show the
    Pilgrims how to survive in America through harvesting crops, hunting, and
    fishing. It has been argued how Tisquantum could have it in his heart to help the
    Pilgrims after being thrice captured by European slaver traders, prior to
    the Pilgrims' arrival. However, it is in Native American culture to have good
    will and a generous heart. It is through these actions the Natives believed
    they would receive blessings.

    It is speculated the first Thanksgiving occurred in October 1621; however,
    there are major date discrepancies. Some records report it lasted for three
    days and included: fasting, prayer, religious ceremonies, and finally, the
    shared meal. The _Wampanoag_ (Wampanoag - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) people,
    the tribe to which Tisquantum belonged, provided most of the food. However,
    the first Thanksgiving was neither to share "thanks" nor to display "love and
    affection" for one another as stories claim. The Wampanoag were actually
    invited to the first Thanksgiving to negotiate a treaty that would grant the
    Pilgrims rights to the Plymouth land. Since the Native American population
    and its knowledge of America´s lands outweighed that of the Pilgrims, the
    Pilgrims viewed Native Americans as a threat. By creating a treaty, the Pilgrims
    would have the land "secured" for when more Pilgrims reached the "New World"
    . Once more Pilgrims arrived, they could begin to conquer the Native
    Americans and pillage their land. Until then, the Pilgrims would "play nice"
    until the shift of power was transferred to them. Hence, the first Thanksgiving
    is created.

    Religion and a broken promise

    Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

  • #2
    The Pilgrims who settled in America were not innocent exiles who unjustly
    had been banished from their country. Instead, they were "political
    revolutionist" belonging to the _Puritan movement_ (Puritan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
    , which was seen as unorthodox and intolerable by the King of the Church of
    England. The Puritan Pilgrims viewed themselves as being the "chosen elect,"
    linking themselves to the Book of Revelations, and decided to travel to
    America to build a "Kingdom of God". Pilgrim leader, _William Bradford_
    (http://http// , wrote in his
    diary that the voyage to the "New World" was motivated by "a great hope for
    advancing the kingdom of Christ." Also, it should be noted the Puritans did
    eventually overthrow the England government in 1649.

    The Puritans, if living today, would be classified as religious fanatics who
    would do anything "to serve their God". They held the notion everything had
    to be "pure". If people´s religious beliefs differed from Puritan values,
    the Puritans felt compelled to "purify" others, as well. Needless to say,
    once the Pilgrims witnessed how Native Americans worshipped differently, the
    Pilgrims enforced their religious beliefs upon Native Americans as being "
    righteous" and "the chosen religion". This was the same behavior that led to the
    Pilgrims' exile from England.
    The Pilgrims neglected to see the spirituality Native Americans possessed,
    particularly when involving their connection to the land. In their attempt to
    spread Puritanism, the Puritan Pilgrims were not always very peaceful.
    Furthermore, since Tisquantum had been christianized during his capture and stay
    in England, the Pilgrims viewed him as an instrument to spread Puritanism
    amongst the Wampanoag people. However, when the Natives rebelled, the Puritans
    used trickery, treason, torment, warfare, and genocide to achieve their end: a
    new, exclusive nation existing predominantly of Puritans. The Puritans
    viewed their fight against Native Americans as a "holy war against Satan," as
    everyone who disagreed was labeled "savages"- the word often used to describe
    Native Americans. The Puritan´s elitist attitudes and behaviors were
    transported to the "New World," and it was this attitude and behavior that
    compelled them to conquer Native Americans. In fact, when Governor Winthrop
    proclaimed the first Thanksgiving, it was a celebration for the safe return of the
    Puritan men from what is now called Mystic, Connecticut after a successful
    massacre of 700 Pequot men, women, and children, which is known as the
    _Thanksgiving Massacre_ (Independent Media Center | Bloomington-Normal Illinois) .

    Furthermore, hostile feelings further erupted because the Pilgrims reneged
    on their agreement with the Native Americans established during the first
    Thanksgiving meal. Since the Pilgrims´ harvest was meager, Native Americans
    wanted to exchange their harvest for beads and metals, and other materials the
    Europeans owned. Initially expressing willingness, as the Pilgrims accepted the
    Native´s harvest, the Pilgrims in the end, did not follow through with their
    word. With Native American leaders being men of their word, they were angered
    by the Pilgrims´ bad faith.

    The Thanksgiving we know and how it was formed

    The first Thanksgiving was the first and last celebrated amongst the
    Pilgrims, and it was definitely the last for Native Americans. The widely held
    notion of Pilgrims sitting around eating pumpkin pie years thereafter is false.
    President George Washington occasionally made one-time Thanksgiving holidays.
    In 1827, _Mrs. Sarah Josepha Hale_
    (http://http// began lobbying several Presidents for the permanent
    reinstatement of a Thanksgiving holiday. However, this was not achieved until President
    Abraham Lincoln proclaimed it a national holiday with his _1863
    Thanksgiving Proclamation_
    (Thanksgiving Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln) to promote a more unified nation, which had been divided by the
    Civil War. It was later modified by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939 and
    approved by Congress in 1941, by which it now would take place on the last
    Thursday in November.

    A generation after the first Thanksgiving, the balance of power had shifted
    to the Pilgrims or New Englanders: Native American and white descendants were
    at complete war with one another. This genocidal war was known as _King
    Philip´s War_ (King Philip's War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) . At the end of
    this war, Native Americans had either been annihilated or exiled and made
    refugees among the French in Canada or sold into slavery in the Carolinas by the
    Puritans. In fact, this slavery trade was so popular that Boston Puritans
    who owned ships decided to raid the Ivory Coast of Africa, and we all know how
    that ended. Can we say approximately 465 years of African Americans

    A new Thanksgiving story?

    Americans should know the history behind Thanksgiving. The images of
    Pilgrims continually celebrating Thanksgiving, and Native Americans being invited
    out of goodwill is false-- as tension mounted and wars broke out between Native
    Americans and Pilgrims, there were no future Thanksgivings. Native American
    history involves successive colonization, intrusion of colonists' beliefs,
    sacrilege of lands and sacred burial sites, and the unjust force of Native
    Americans further west. However, this was not always the story of Native
    Americans. Native Americans used to live in a harmonious society. "Earth Mother"
    or "Mother Earth" was respected and she in return, blessed Native Americans
    with bountiful crops, peace, and health. Since then, America has become a place
    of corruption, racism, segregation, and capitalism-- all due to the
    foundation on which America was built. As _Abigail Adams _
    (Abigail Adams - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) once questioned how any good could come from a White House
    that was built by half-hungry slaves, how can America be a place of good
    will, liberty, and welfare without acknowledging the bloodshed and tragedy of
    its native peoples?

    What many of us eat today, including our Thanksgiving menu, comes from the
    harvest crop initially cultivated by Natives. Nearly 70 percent of all crop,
    including corn, potatoes, tomatoes, come from Native Americans. It is
    important that we teach our children the truth on which America was founded. The
    images, the story, the history of Native Americans must be changed. What we
    have all learned is based on both truth and myth. It is our duty as parents to
    educate our children and teach them the real story of not only Thanksgiving,
    but also America, wholly. How can races/ethnicities ever heal unless we are
    able to address the problems and move on together to face them?

    Yet, the true theme existing behind Thanksgiving should not be ignored, as
    everyone should be thankful for his or her blessings and this is something we
    must instill in all children: the acknowledgment of your blessings and being
    grateful for them. But most importantly, we must instill in them, the truth.

    (Mistakes, Lies & Misconceptions - Issues of Native Circle)
    (Native American Thanksgiving)
    (The Native American Perspective on Thanksgiving)
    (Native Americans - Thanksgiving)
    (“Thanksgiving”- a National Day of Mourning)
    _ (http://http//
    Must read books: If you would like to educate yourself more on this matter,
    you may check out some of these books: "The Invasion of America" by Francis
    Jennings. This book gives more insight into the settlement of the Pilgrims
    of New Englanders and the formation of Native American-White relations in the
    New England colonies. Also, another excellent resource is Oliver Cromwell´s
    "British Civil War of 1621-1642 and the Puritan uprising of 1653". You may
    also check out this _Web site_
    ( , as it has many informative books on Native Americans
    and the Pilgrims.
    For more info: Contact Aisha Ali at [email protected]_
    (Live Search) .

    Topics: _Thanksgiving_
    (D.C. Youth Issues Examiner: Dismantling Thanksgiving myths: a Native American story) , _Native Americans_
    (D.C. Youth Issues Examiner: Dismantling Thanksgiving myths: a Native American story) , _Pilgrims_
    (D.C. Youth Issues Examiner: Dismantling Thanksgiving myths: a Native American story) ,
    _Thanksgiving Massacre_
    (D.C. Youth Issues Examiner: Dismantling Thanksgiving myths: a Native American story) , _Puritans_
    (D.C. Youth Issues Examiner: Dismantling Thanksgiving myths: a Native American story) , _England_
    (D.C. Youth Issues Examiner: Dismantling Thanksgiving myths: a Native American story) ,
    (D.C. Youth Issues Examiner: Dismantling Thanksgiving myths: a Native American story) , _William Bradford_
    (D.C. Youth Issues Examiner: Dismantling Thanksgiving myths: a Native American story) , _Lincoln_
    (D.C. Youth Issues Examiner: Dismantling Thanksgiving myths: a Native American story) , _Roosevelt_
    (D.C. Youth Issues Examiner: Dismantling Thanksgiving myths: a Native American story) ,
    (D.C. Youth Issues Examiner: Dismantling Thanksgiving myths: a Native American story) , _George Washington_
    (D.C. Youth Issues Examiner: Dismantling Thanksgiving myths: a Native American story) , _1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation_
    (D.C. Youth Issues Examiner: Dismantling Thanksgiving myths: a Native American story
    ng-Proclamation) , _Abigail Adams_
    (D.C. Youth Issues Examiner: Dismantling Thanksgiving myths: a Native American story)
    Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic


    • #3
      I see thanksgiving as a day where most people do blindly celebrate it. Following what others are doing and if that purpose is a good purpose, I say the history of it doesn't matter, history is shrouded with much unknown anyways.

      I guess my first thoughts on the subject, is that the natives on the east coast fed the starving immigrants so they did not die. Later the government felt bad because of the way things were so they decided to create a story to commemorate what the natives did for those first immigrants. The native people over there taught them how to survive, and foremost food is what comes to mind when thinking of survival.

      I know much knowledge is lacking on my part, I just thought I'd voice what little bit I thought about it. I personally don't care about the history of it. Bringing negative thought into your mind on a day when people all over are feasting with their family just isn't healthy.
      Native people were chosen by the Creator to be an example to the world.


      • #4
        I'm involved with a Twelve Step Recovery club that hosts a pretty large Thanksgiving dinner every year. The club provides some of the food, and members and guests bring what they can. The doors are open to anyone who wants to come in and eat. We hold extra meetings and keep the doors open until the last meeting is over.


        • #5
          Last edited by Kaina1128; 11-14-2018, 07:13 PM. Reason: Deleted


          • #6
            A friend of mine describes first contact like this:
            "The native peoples that the Europeans first met here were very advanced. In agriculture, art, government, religion, and all other areas they were equal to or far beyond what the Anglos had or would have for a few centuries.
            There is only one area where it can be said that native people were lacking- immigration policy. If they had done then what the U.S. does now, we would not have the United States of America, it would be the United Nations of Turtle Island."


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