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An Alternate Tale of the First Thanksgiving

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  • An Alternate Tale of the First Thanksgiving

    Sometimes we should just be thankful that we're not living in the past.
    A history short from The Atlantic..

    "In American lore, friendly Indians helped freedom-loving colonists. In real life, the Wampanoags had a problem they didn’t know how to fix.

    In the familiar American account of the first Thanksgiving in 1621, the Pilgrims who settled in Plymouth were pious English refugees, one of many boatloads of Europeans who fled the tyranny of the Old World to become a liberty-loving people in the New. The Indians whom they encountered (rarely identified by tribe) overcame their caution and proved to be friendly (a term requiring no explanation). Their chief, Massasoit, was a magnanimous host who took pity on bedraggled strangers, taught them how to plant corn and where to fish, and thereby helped them survive their first harsh winters in America. Like Pocahontas and Sacajawea, two of the other famous Indians in American lore, Massasoit’s people helped the colonizers and moved offstage."

    If the women don\'t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.

  • #2
    Fascinating piece of history.

    Actually, Thanksgiving predates that 1621 celebration (not necessarily as a harvest festival and not always on a fixed date), although the event you describe has come to be regarded as the “first Thanksgiving”. Prior to that, ad-hoc thanksgiving services were routine in Virginia as early as 1607 and Jamestown had it’s first documented thanksgiving in 1610.

    When 38 English settlers arrived in Virginia in 1619, their London Company charter specifically required that: “the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned... in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.” The ship “Margaret” out of Bristol, England arrived at the new “Town and Hundred of Berkeley, Virginia” on 4th December 1619 and established the tradition of a day of "Thanksgiving" two years and 17 days before the Pilgrims arrived aboard the Mayflower at Plymouth, Massachusetts.
    I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.


    • sailorjoe
      sailorjoe commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi Roger, I am so glad you set the history correct on this event.. Like so many other events in American history some of them are incorrectly written by so-called historical authors and as such what we are taught is sometimes wrong. And so goes the history of the world. He who wins controls the narratives.

    • CMD
      CMD commented
      Editing a comment
      I'm sure that's all true. That said, Thanksgiving will always be associated with the Pilgrims, Plymouth, and Massasoit's band, the Pokanoket of Mt. Hope, RI, then a part of Plymouth colony. Regardless of who held a feast of thanks first, and really, there's nothing wrong with that. In addition, when I was a child, one never heard of Native Americans protesting the holiday. No more is that the case. But, as Joe observed, history is written from the point of view of the victors. Native American studies did not start taking off until the late 60's.

  • #3
    King George also gave thanks after the revolutionary war ..even though he just lost. 13 colonies....he gave thanks to God ..because things might have been worse. He said....he believed in God and Jesus .


    • #4
      As in everything else, there are always more than one side to every story. We generally choose to accept the gentle side of history and refuse to think of the ugly side.
      In life there are losers and finders. Which one are you?