"The first Thanksgiving Day did occur in the year 1637, but it was nothing like our Thanksgiving today. On that day the Massachusetts Colony Governor, John Winthrop, proclaimed such a “Thanksgiving” to celebrate the safe return of a band of heavily armed hunters, all colonial volunteers. They had just returned from their journey to what is now Mystic, Connecticut where they massacred 700 Pequot Indians. Seven hundred Indians - men, women and children - all murdered.
This day is still remembered today, 373 years later. “ No, it’s been long forgotten by white people, by European Christians. But it is still fresh in the mind of many Indians. A group calling themselves the United American Indians of New England meet each year at Plymouth Rock on Cole’s Hill for what they say is a Day of Mourning. They gather at the feet of a stature of Chief Massasoit of the Wampanoag to remember the long gone Pequot. They do not call it Thanksgiving. There is no football game afterward.
I remember getting older and learning what really happened and sitting in history class stunned.
I was in about 8th grade or so….up until that point, all I had known was cutesy Scholastic images of pilgrams and “indians” at dinner together. They would have us make little paper hats of either native head dress or pilgrim top hat.
And they made it fun. For years.
And I can remember sitting in the classroom thinking they lied to us. About everything. And when I got older still the gravity of it was just…Because they wouldn’t say in the books that the massacre and thanksgiving had anything to do with each other.
And it made me wonder why is it so important to keep the party and the ignorance going? Why is this teaching of bold lies acceptable for generations?
I’ve been sitting on this for too long & in another couple of days we’ll have all but forgotten that it was just Thanksgiving but…when you think about the extent to which we lie to little kids about this holiday, it’s truly disturbing. I’m all for overeating with people who are important to you & expressing gratitude for what you value, but I don’t know why it has to be coupled with a gross attempt to paper over our historical misdeeds.
(for more on the truth behind Thanksgiving, this is good too.)
I didn’t even know the specifics and I was like, it’s pretty sketch that we’re celebrating basically Columbus Day 2.0 a month later. Sad, because I love what Thanksgiving means to me, which is basically family, strays*, and food.
*i.e. non-relations who are invited to Thanx it up with the fam.