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The True Origin Of Thanksgiving

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  • The True Origin Of Thanksgiving

    I did a reasearch paper for a history class awile back. I poured through teh books looking for factual information, not specualtion, first hand accounts, government documents and anything that could not be disputed by my professor as being hearsay or biased. I got an A on this paper and I also sent it to the whole university via email, faculty, staff and students. The responses were not what I expected. One lady acused me of forever destroyer her "image" of the thanksgiving she always knew. Others attacked me for trying to show people the truth behind such a "revered" holiday. Then there were the ones who didnt believe that any of this happened and that I should keep my mouth shut because they dont want their children to learn this history. Very few were the responses of sympathy, regret, understanding, and thanks for learning the truth. My goal wasnt to get a response, it was to tell the truth and I was condemend for it by professors, students, and workers because I had shattered thier precious littel dream world of what thanksgiving is...
    A Warrior without character is nothing more than a brute.

    I have lots of freinds, you just cant see them:)

  • #2
    In mid-winter 1620 the English ship Mayflower landed on the North American coast(at Plymouth Rock) delivering 102 Puritan exiles. The original Native people "Indians") of this stretch of shoreline had already been killed off in great numbers. In 1614 a British expedition had landed there. When they left they took 24 Indians as slaves and left smallpox, syphilis and gonorrhea behind. That plague swept the so called "tribes of New England",destroyed some villages totally.

    The Puritans landed and built their colony called "the Plymouth Plantation" near the desired ruins of the Indian village of Pawtuxet. They ate from abandoned cornfields grown wild. Historical accounts tell us that
    only one Pawtuxet named Squanto had survived. He had spent the last years as a slave to the English and Spanish in Europe. The Pilgrim crop failed miserably, but the agricultural expertise of Squanto produced 20 acres of corn, without which the Pilgrims would have surely perished. Squanto spoke the colonists' language and taught them how to plant corn and how to catch
    fish. Squanto also helped the colonists negotiate a peace treaty with the nearby Wampanoag tribe, led by the chief Massasoit.

    These were very lucky breaks for the colonists. Thanks to the good will of the Wampanoag, the Puritans not only survived their first year but had an alliance with the
    Wampanoags that would give them almost two decades of peace. In celebration of their good fortune, the colony's governor, William Bradford, declared a three-day feast after the first harvest of 1621. It later became known as "Thanksgiving", but the Pilgrims never called it that.

    The "Indians" who attended were not even invited. The pilgrims only invited Chief Massasoit and it was Massasoit who then invited ninety or more of his "Indian"
    brothers and sisters to the affair to the chagrin of the indignant Europeans. No turkey, cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie was served, no prayers were offered and the "Indians" were not invited back for any other such meals. The Pilgrims did however consume a good deal of brew on that day. In
    fact, each Pilgrim drank at least a half gallon of ale a day which they preferred even to water.

    The peace that produced the Thanksgiving Feast of 1621 meant that the Puritans would have fifteen years to established a firm foothold on the coast. Until 1629 there were no more than 300 Puritans in New England,
    scattered in small and isolated settlements. But their survival inspired a wave of Puritan invasion that soon established growing Massachusetts towns north of Plymouth; Boston and Salem. For ten years, boat loads of new settlers came.

    As the Europeans' numbers increased, they proved not nearly as generous as the Wampanoags. On arrival, the Puritans discussed "who legally owns all this land? "Massachusetts Governor Wintrop declared the "Indians" had not "subdued" the land, and therefore all uncultivated lands
    should, according to English Common Law, be considered "public domain." This meant they belonged to the king. In short, colonists decided they did not need to consult the "Indians". When they seized the new lands, they only had to consult the representative of the crown (meaning the local governor).

    The Puritans embraced a line from Psalms 2:8, "Ask of me, and I shall give thee,
    the heather for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of he earth for thy possession."

    Contrary to popular mythology the Pilgrims were no friends to the local Indigenous People ("Indians"). A company of Pilgrims led by Miles Standish actively sought the head of a local chief. Standish eventually got his bloody prize. He beheaded an Indian named Wituwamat and brought the head to Plymouth where it was displayed on a wooden spike for many years.

    In about 1636, a force of colonists trapped some seven hundred Pequot Indians near the mouth of the Mystic River. English Captain John Mason attacked the Indian camp with "fire, sword, blunderbuss, and tomahawk." Only a handful escaped and few prisoners were taken.

    "To see them frying in the fire, and the streams of their blood quenching the same, and the stench was horrible, but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice to the great delight of the Pilgrims, and they gave praise thereof to God."

    The Puritan fathers believed they were the Chosen People of an Infinite God and that this justified anything they did. They were Calvinists who believed that the vast majority of humanity was predestined to damnation.

    During this period a day of thanksgiving was also proclaimed in the churches of Manhattan. The European colonists declared thanksgiving days to celebrate mass murder more often than they did for reverence, harvest or friendship.

    In 1641 the Dutch governor Kieft of Manhattan offered the first "scalp bounty". His government paid money for the scalp of each "Indian" brought to him. A couple of years later, Kieft ordered the massacre of the Wappingers, a "friendly tribe". Eighty were killed and their severed heads were kicked like soccer balls down the streets of Manhattan. One captive was castrated,
    skinned alive and forced at points to eat his own flesh while the Dutch governor watched and laughed. Then Kieft hired the notorious Underhill who had commanded in the Pequot War to carry out a similar massacre near Stamford, Connecticut. The village was set on fire, and 500 "Indian" residents were put to the sword.

    In their victory, the settlers launched an all out genocide plot against the remaining Native people. The Massachusetts government, following what appeared to be the order of the day, offered twenty shillings bounty for
    every "Indian" scalp, and forty shillings for every prisoner who could be sold into slavery. Soldiers were allowed to enslave and rape any "Indian" woman or enslave any "Indian" child under 14 they could kidnap. The "Praying Indians" who had converted to Christianity and fought on the side of the European troops were accused of shooting into the treetops during battles
    with "hostiles." They were enslaved or killed. Other "peaceful Indians" of
    Dartmouth and Dover were invited to negotiate or seek refuge at trading
    posts and were sold onto slave ships. Colonial law further gave permission
    to "kill savages ("Indians") on sight at will."

    Any goodwill that may have existed was certainly now gone and by 1675 Massachusetts and the surrounding colonies were in a full scale war with the great chief of the Wampanoags, Metacomet. Renamed "King Phillip" by the White man, Metacomet watched the steady erosion of the lifestyles and
    culture of his people as European laws and values engulfed them. The syphilis, gonorrhea, smallpox and all types of "white man" diseases took their toll. Forced ultimately into humiliating submission by the power of a distant king, Metacomet struck out with raids on several isolated frontier towns. The expedient use of the so-called "Praying Indians" (natives converted to their version of Christianity), ultimately defeated the great "Indian" nation, just half a century after the arrival of the European.

    When Captain Benjamin Church tracked down and assassinated Metacomet, his body was quartered and parts were "left for the wolves." The great "Indian" chief's hands were cut off and sent to Boston and his head went to Plymouth where it was set upon a poke on Thanksgiving Day, 1767. Metacomet's nine-year-old son was destined for execution, the Puritan reasoning being that the offspring of the "Devil" must pay for the sins of their father. He was instead shipped to the Caribbean to serve his life in slavery.

    In the midst of the Holocaust/Genocide of the Red Man and woman, Governor Dudley declared in 1704 a "General Thanksgiving" not to celebrate the brotherhood of man, but for:

    [God's] infinite Goodness to extend His Favors... In defeating and disappointing.... the expeditions of the Enemy [Indians] against us, And the good Success given us against them, by delivering so many of them into our hands...

    Whose Thanksgiving Have You Been Celebrating???

    [ October 09, 2001: Message edited by: Riverwind. ]

    [ October 09, 2001: Message edited by: Riverwind. ]
    A Warrior without character is nothing more than a brute.

    I have lots of freinds, you just cant see them:)


    • #3
      For those of us willing to open our minds and hearts to the truth, Thanksgiving is truly a day of mourning. Thank you, both of you, for educating us today. I knew it was bad but really had no idea how horrific it was until I read your words, Riverwind. When even one teacher has the guts to teach the truth we might then have a generation that thinks for itself and starts questioning all the crap we've been fed. They would have to be a gutsy teacher, because they'd probably risk losing their job for not following the State-approved curricula. Sad but true. Thanks again.


      • #4

        I thought it was all about EATING!!
        Not better. Not worse. Just different.


        • #5
          Joseph, I can see why you were given an A, I can also see why so many didn't want to read it's words.

          When I read items such as this, it just reinforces to me that we are all still here for a reason. We gots lotsa more work to do.

          Appreciate you sharing that with us. Sends chills down my spine. Thank goodness we do not have to encounter those type of horrendous acts today.
          Everything is gonna be alright!

          Be blessed - got love???

          This b me.....


          • #6
            Gilaskasla! for sharing the truth.



            • #7
              wow i didn't know that!



              • #8
                When your eyes are opened to the truth, there can be no going back. You shook their foundation (even though it is/was a false sense of security). :)

                The more I live, the more I find that it's all to convenient too sweep the honest truth under the perverbial rug. Is ethnic tolerance a pipe dream? I ask this because Riverwinds post got my wheels rolling. My mind's going at 100mph and I can't type as fast. But it's good to know everything still works *under the dust*. LOL :D

                In my history class, when I told them this, the professor looked at me like I had just lit a crack pipe in a Baptist church (no offense meant). Anyway, she never addressed it. In fact, she acted as if I said nothing at all. When I brought it up again, she babbled on about how scared pilgrims were in a new land. :( And she said Indians helped the pilgrims (yeah and they got screwed), the pilgrims loved everyone (is this from whence hippie-ness doth came), then the pilgrims invited the indians to dinner (by this time my head was to the side and my expression was one of pure unadulterated befuddlement). When does the hurting stop?

                [ October 10, 2001: Message edited by: Singing Otter ]
                SHAKE IT!!!!


                • #9
                  I've known this for a long time now. But many of our peoples did celebrate a thanksgiving for each of the harvests so I chose to use this holiday for that purpose even though I don't grow anything. But I do work and I am able to put good food on the table and I am thankful that there are people who do grow to provide those foods. This is the way I celebrate, not celebrate a day in time that did not happen the way they still teach it in schools. Thanks for putting this up Riverwind!! It was good to refresh my memory. I can see great things coming to you in your future when you graduate!!
                  Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic


                  • #10
                    The general feeling I get from reading the posts is anger, sadness, etc.
                    Remembering how the non-Indian public received their version of Thanksgiving is something that we should keep in mind.

                    When my grand-daughter asks me why we have Thanksgiving I will tell her my/our version.

                    We have feasts every three months (the changing of the seasons) to give thanks for what we have received to enable us to live. We give thanks for the heat from the sun to keep us warm, the food, the water, the air that we breathe and the knowledge that we receive from our elders to preserve these things. We are not giving thanks to anything else except to Gitchi Munedoo for providing these things for us.
                    Like Blackbear, I too don't have a garden but i have a job to make a living so I could go out and purchase the necessities for which I am truly thankful.
                    If you really think about it there are many things you could be thankful for.
                    I'm not thankful for the pilgrims. I'll tell my grand-daughter about that when the time is right. When she can handle it.

                    Riverwind, I'd like to print your essay out to keep for my own reference and to share with others who might ask. You shoulda got an A+++.



                    • #11
                      historical footnotes:

                      1. Pawtuxet's first words to the colonists were, "Do you have any beer."

                      2. The present Thanksgiving celebration uses the Indian/colonists story as a foundational myth. In reality, the first national Thanksgiving day was ordered by George Washington during the Revolutionary war (on Nov 27 according to the Gregorian calendar) as a day to offer thanks to God for his protection, help, etc. This has more meaning for what is now celebrated than does the Plymouth colony myth but it doesn't make a very good story.

                      These are just footnotes, not intended to fuel controversy. :)


                      • #12
                        The first "Thanksgiving" by Europeans in America was April 30, 1598 near El Paso (Well before the English had a permanent settlement). Juan de On~ate led hundreds of Spanish men and their families across the Mexican desert. When they crossed the Rio Grande, Onate told his followers to feast and be thankful for the abundance of the land. He is responsible for the Spanish province of New Mexico and he introduced cattle, horses, and Christianity to many Pueblo. (However, the majority of Spanish in America were just as big of a--holes as the English.)

                        Lincoln was responsible for the first national Thanksgiving observance during the Civil War. It wasn't about Pilgrims.

                        Today football is just as big a part of Thanksgiving as the Puritan crap.

                        When my family sits at the supper table, we pray as a family for what we have. Every day we give thanks in my house. That's the message I try to convey to my kids.
                        Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.


                        • #13
                          I am not Theresa, but am writing under her name as she wanted me to respond to this. So don't hate her if you don't like what I have to offer here...

                          I found the essay thought provoking to say the least. The thoughts it most provoked are, "Why did the Puritans do the things they did?" "What happened to put the 'Red Man' in such a bad light that the colonists felt they had to annihilate him?" "What kind of people, in any race, kill and torture people who have done nothing but help them and bring them good will?" "Where is the part of the story that gives a plausible explanation for why Whitey was such an a--hole?"

                          I do not defend the acts of murder, torture, or harm of any kind that were, and probably still are, perpetrated upon the Indigenous Peoples of America - or any people anywhere. But I wonder why it's still an issue. It was what it was. It is what it is. People believe what they're comfortable with believing, so what purpose is being served by your essay? Any honest white person in America knows that their people treated Indians worse than crap (the dishonest ones will never see the truth, so your essay is useless to them), but the honest fact is and was, the Europeans were the stronger group, no matter how they accomplished their goals, they were the "elite" of the day. They may not be much longer. But they were then, and for now, they still seem to be. Life goes in cycles. How many generations of prosperity, peace and harmony did the Indians have before white people arrived? How many generations will have the same when whites are no longer top dog? They've enjoyed an era. You have too. You probably will again. So will they. Cycles. Get over it.

                          Again I ask, what is being accomplished by your essay? Native Americans know their history. White Americans know theirs. Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, Middle Eastern Americans... they all know their history and their place in this country's founding, growth and current status. Which of these groups is ever going to accept the other's version of the past? None. So why can't they all focus on the present and future? Why can't everyone bury the tomahawk and strive for the community spirit and good will that Thanksgiving is supposed to represent?

                          400 years ago, all people were "savages". Whites killed their own because they believed they were witches, or because adultery was committed, or because because because, a thousand bull-sh*t reasons for killing - expansion of land, fear of the unknown, the different... whatever. Native Americans committed unspeakable acts against their own, blacks, asians, etc., all did the same. So why do the Native Americans, Black Americans, etc. all act like they're the only ones who were made to suffer? Because whites were a different color and came from far away they shouldn't have done the same things everyone else was doing to each other? Face it, they just did it better and with more finality. More importantly, why doesn't everyone realize that 400 years ago is not today? And why, if the Red Man so relishes the way of life they lost and is so indignant over white domination and subjugation, does he drive the white man's cars? Wear the white man's clothes? Use the white man's electricity? Talk on the white man's phone? Join the white man's army so he can get the white man's education - at substantial financial savings - and use the white man's VA loan to buy a house and get his medical benefits to keep himself well?

                          When will everyone get off the white man's a$$ and come to the realization that while the way he did things absolutely SUCKED, the end result became something that no one seems to be able to live without. And also, do you realize that the anti-white sentiments you express are no better than the anti-red,black,yellow,brown, etc. sentiments that they express?

                          Your essay was written from pure Anti-white, Pro-Red bias, and should've been seen as such. Any teacher that gave you an A must have been a blind idiot. Any good essay tries to fairly represent both sides of an issue and then defend their position... where was the white man's side? What were the events that led to his horrific acts? What were his circumstances? His points of view? Why were they such? There is no shortage of Indian empathy, and clearly sympathy, in your work, but one is hard pressed to find any for the white man.

                          How about this: The whites did the only thing they knew how to do at the time. They, for the most part, have since evolved. When will the tragedies and travesties of nearly half a millennium be forgiven? When will we move past all this and become one people?

                          When Europeans fought with other Europeans, there were none of these eternal grudges being held the way everyone else seems to hold them. If other races could do for themselves what whites accomplished for their cause - no matter whether it was right or wrong - do you think there would be all this talk about it?

                          The problem is not what whites did for a few centuries a long time ago. The problem is what the other races failed - and still fail - to do for themselves. BOND. UNITE. CONFRONT. REMAIN STEADFAST. STAY TOGETHER. ACHIEVE YOUR DESIRE AT ANY COST. You're all so busy licking old wounds that you're unable to pull yourselves together when it counts. That's what the white man had, and for now, still has. Who knows how long he'll keep it? But when will YOU get it? And will YOU do it a different way than he did? If so, how?


                          • #14
                            I was always told that for the indians,the first thanksgiving dinner was a going away banquet,only the guests never left....just kidding.
                            Theresa,in Europe there are still grudges as old as 300 years .
                            History is made to be learned from not judged but... people who forget their past are condemn to relive it. :D
                            By the way i suggest that you read "indian givers"it will give you another view of the world history.
                            The so called supperiority of the whites was just an accident of history.
                            No race is better than another ,we all have some to offer to mankind.Good and Bad[unfortunately]

                            [ October 13, 2001: Message edited by: Jacques ]
                            Hate is for FOOLS!And fools like m&ms come in all colors

                            I am ready to tell you my secret now,I see dumb people,.I see them everywhere.They dont know they're dumb,they only see what they want to see.That weird feeling which make the hair on your neck stand up....thats them!


                            • #15
                              Hello All! I am Theresa. The person that I live with (that owns this computer) is my friend named Kelly. She is NOT american indian, but she loves their people. When I read Riverwind's story to her, she had a lot to say to me, so I asked her to put her feelings about it all on this message board. So if you have any responses (and I hope that you all do) please direct them to her name not mine. I'd appreciate it. I am american indian and we are 2 different people with 2 different views on things.
                              Thank you.


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