Growing up, most of us learn the myth of Thanksgiving. How the Pilgrim’s were thankful that they survived their first winter, and these wild savages (The Wampanoags) showed up with some turkey, squash, and pie and they all were best of friends, and soon after added each other on Facebook. I know I joke, but unfortunately these are the lies that people are taught. (Maybe minus the Facebook part..)
The First Thanksgiving Facts
- The Wampanoag people were not even invited to the first “Thanksgiving Meal”
- Before the first “Thanksgiving Meal”, the colonists actually erected an 11 foot wall, to keep Indians out
- Thanksgiving was not declared a holiday until 1637, by the Governor of Massachusetts, the first winter was 1621
- Governor Winthrop declared it a holiday to celebrate men returning from Mystic, CT
- The returning men were considered to be victorious because they had just slaughtered over 700 Pequot men, women, and children.
Those are the facts. You can read a lot more about the Mistakes, Lies, & Misconceptions about Thanksgiving over at Native Circle. You can also check out The True Thanksgiving over at Ziibiwing’s Blog. Not exactly the Thanksgiving story that many are taught.
A New Way to Look
Now, I’m not saying go out and boycott Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving. I look forward to seeing family and friends that return home, I look forward to hiking the Metacomet Trail with my family. I think most people DO look at Thanksgiving as a time to give thanks (The name kind of gives it away). I think it ends there a lot of time though. Instead of just giving thanks for the day, or whatever it is that you may be thankful for, do something that others will be thankful for. Don’t let it end on Thanksgiving. Make someone say “Thank you” everyday. I dare you!
Also, learn the history of Thanksgiving on your own. Teach the history of Thanksgiving on your own. I am not trying to turn it into a bitter holiday, but it is always good to know history from all sides. When I am on Metacomet Ridge this Thanksgiving, I will be thankful for all that I have now, and I will look back to my Algonquin roots and be thankful for them as well.
I hope you all have a great holiday, and thank you taking the time to read.