Kristeen Irigoyen-Hernandez aka Lady2Soothe Follow @OurVoicesEcho
THE TRADITIONAL PILGRIMS STORY:
September 1620 one hundred and two people seeking religious freedom in the New World set sail from England on the Mayflower. The Mayflower was originally supposed to sail with a sister ship, the Speedwell, but it proved unseaworthy, so the Mayflower made the journey alone. In November 1620 the ship landed on the shores of Cape Cod, in present-day Massachusetts. A scouting party was sent out, and in late December the group landed at Plymouth Harbor, where they formed the first permanent settlement of Europeans in New England. A friendly Indian named Squanto who had learned English from fishermen taught the Pilgrims how to plant corn and other vegetables so the following year on the fourth Thursday in November 1621 Pilgrims and Indians came together for a feast of turkey, root vegetables, pumpkin pie and lots of fun playing games, singing and dancing.
THE REAL STORY:
Not the bullshit fed by the media and politically run educational system… This was land belonging to Indigenous from time immemorial. Native lands and Reservations ARE NOT synonymous, and part of the root of America’s lie begins in history via every Indigenous/1st Nation Peoples’ ever born. This is Native Indigenous land, stolen, returned in 1806 and stolen again.
In order to understand the full scope of Indigenous lands and how this ties to Thanksgiving, let’s go back to 1590 when the Land Bridge Theory, also known as the Bering Strait Theory or Beringia Theory was originally proposed by the Spanish missionary Fray Jose de Acosta who produced the first written record suggesting a land bridge connecting Asia to North America. The Land Bridge Theory contends people migrated from Siberia to Alaska across a land bridge spanning the current day Bering Strait. The first people to populate the Americas were believed to have migrated across the frozen Bering Land Bridge while tracking large game animal herds.
The reemergence of the Land Bridge Theory came up again in 1902… The initial empirical confirmation for the long-held Land Bridge Theory came from the discovery of spear points near Clovis, New Mexico perpetuating the Clovis-First Theory in the early 20th century, between 1929 and 1937 by matching *similar* kinds of artifacts found in Beringia. However, the Land Bridge Theory has been busted in a multitude of ways and proved a myth as per “9 – repeat allele” genetic DNA marker. Due to the propagated lies people have never bothered to learn the truth and are spewing regurgitated sound-bites just as they’ve been trained to do by the media and the educational system. This **theory** was widely adopted by most modern textbooks since the 1930’s.
Getting back to Thanksgiving… As soon as Europeans crossed the Atlantic exploring and colonizing lands and people, epidemics of infectious diseases meant illness, death, and rapid depopulation. Endemic malaria-plagued European immigrants, infections of smallpox, measles, influenza, cholera, yellow fever, and tuberculosis killed some, diseases such as syphilis and gonorrhea frequently rendered others infertile, seriously altering patterns of reproduction and population replacement. The massive changes in land use which accompanied European colonization seriously compromised Indigenous people’s health through hunger and starvation unraveling the viability of traditional social and political organization.
The inhabitants of Jamestown VA, the first settlement were starving to death because they didn’t know how to grow their own food. These settlers spent most of their days digging random holes in the ground in search of gold instead of planting crops. By the beginning of 1610, the settlers at Jamestown were dining on “dogs, cats, rats, and mice. Some colonists dug corpses out of their graves to eat them.” One man murdered his pregnant wife and “salted her for his food.” The first Virginians were so desperate they went from taking Native American slaves to offering themselves up as slaves to the Native Americans in exchange for food.
Then came the pilgrims who settled in a land with bountiful natural resources, which was once Patuxet, a Wampanoag village, but it had been abandoned four years prior because of a deadly outbreak of a plague brought by European traders. Before 1616, the Wampanoag numbered 50,000 to 100,000, occupying 69 villages scattered throughout southeastern Massachusetts and eastern Rhode Island. In fact, the end times began for Massachusetts Indians several years earlier, when British slaving crews introduced smallpox carried by their infected cattle to coastal New England killing over ninety percent of the local population. Many also had been captured and sold as slaves. Thanksgiving enthusiasts view it as a celebration of the boldness, piety, and sacrifices of the first European migrants to American shores but in reality, the appearance of the Pilgrims marks the beginning of the end.
Squanto /Tisquantum, a native living in the area taught the colonists how to survive. Young Squanto had been captured in 1614-15 as a slave by Thomas Hunt, who came to Patuxet as part of a commercial fishing and trading venture commanded by Captain John Smith. After Smith left for England, Hunt, who was to take his dried fish cargo to Spain, kidnapped 27 Natives, including Squanto and sailed to Spain to sell them into slavery. After spending several years laboring as a ship-builder in London Squanto escaped and was finally able to return home only to discover his childhood home, and most of the other settlements along the east coast had been wiped out by the plague leaving a bunch of confused Europeans squatting in the remains of the village with no idea how to survive.
Squanto’s importance to the Pilgrims was enormous and it can be said they would not have survived without his help. It was Squanto who taught the Pilgrims how to tap the maple trees for sap, and gather fruit, nuts and berries. He taught them which plants were poisonous and which had medicinal powers, how to plant the Indian corn by heaping several seeds into low mounds and fertilizing with decaying fish in each mound. He also taught them to plant companion crops along corn because the seeds the Pilgrims brought consistently failed. He taught them how to fish for eels, trap for turkey, rabbits and other wild animals and introduced them to the fur trade, teaching them they could reduce their indebtedness to their London financial backers. Squanto mediated and traded on their behalf with local peoples and dealt with other native tribes; creating a peaceful trade system ensuring security against attack by giving them the means to obtain food supplement when their own supplies became insufficient, yet for all he did for them Squanto was accused of cultivating hostilities between the Indigenous and English. A last minute reprieve saved Squanto from being handed over for execution. Squanto was still a hostage to pre-America upon his death of Indian fever i.e. the White man’s plague on November 30, 1622, in Chatham, Massachusetts.
While the decimated Wampanoag helped the British boat people survive their first grueling year. In return for Indian generosity, Pilgrims stole their grain stores and robbed Wampanoag graves. Unknown author ~ “The next morning we found a place like a grave. We decided to dig it up. We found first a mat and under that a fine bow… We also found bowls, trays, dishes, and things like that. We took several of the prettiest things to carry away with us, and covered the body up again.”
The original feast in 1621 occurred sometime between September 21 and November 11. Unlike our modern holiday, it was three days long. The event was based on English harvest festivals, which traditionally occurred around the 29th of September. The Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. However the first feast wasn’t repeated until 1636, so it wasn’t the beginning of a tradition, in fact, the colonists didn’t even call it Thanksgiving. To them, a thanksgiving was a religious holiday in which they would go to church and thank God for a specific event. The 1621 feast was a secular celebration, so it never would have been considered a thanksgiving in the Pilgrim’s minds; dancing, singing secular songs and playing games wouldn’t have been allowed.
After the first harvest was completed by the Plymouth colonists, Gov. William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving and prayer, shared by all the colonists and neighboring Indians. In 1623 a day of fasting and prayer during a period of drought was changed to one of thanksgiving because the rain came during the prayers. Gradually the custom prevailed in New England of annually celebrating Thanksgiving after the harvest.
Interestingly enough the colonists were contemptuous of the Indians, who they regarded as uncivilized and satanic heathens, and the fragile early peace between Native Americans and the early settlers would soon unravel in a horrific manner in what is now Mystic Connecticut. In 1637 the Pequot tribe was celebrating their own Thanksgiving, the Green Corn Festival. In the predawn hours, settlers— not the Pilgrims, but a band of Puritans— descended on their village and shot, clubbed and burned alive over 700 native men, woman and children.
In 1636, a White man was found murdered in his boat and the colonists blamed the Pequot Indians. In retaliation English Major John Mason rallied his troops to burn Pequot wigwams then attacked and killed hundreds more men, women and children. According to Mason’s reports “We must burn them! Such a dreadful terror let the Almighty fall upon their spirits that they would flee from us and run into the very flames. Thus did the Lord judge the heathen, filling the place with dead bodies.”
The day after the massacre the Governor of Plymouth William Bradford wrote: “Those that escaped the fire were slain with the sword; some hewed to pieces, others run through with their rapiers, so that they were quickly dispatched and very few escaped. It was conceived they thus destroyed about 400 at this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire…horrible was the stink and scent thereof, but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the prayers thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them. From that day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots.” For the next 100 years, Indigenous villages were attacked, thousands of men, women, and children were murdered, and for every invasion a Thanksgiving Day was celebrated as ordained by a Governor in honor of each bloody victory, thanking God the battle had been won, but with so many Thanksgiving Days each year it was decided to designate only one official day in the month of November.
For a brief time beginning in 1668, November 25th was considered the “legal” annual day of Thanksgiving, but the practice lasted only five years. Thursday may have become a tradition in order to distance the event from the Sabbath day among the Puritan colonists. Thursday was also a typical day for lectures in New England, with ministers giving a religious talk each Thursday afternoon. This practice may have contributed to the Thursday Thanksgiving tradition. Since George Washington’s time, 1789, Thursday has been the day and solidified by Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation in 1863 designating the national day of Thanksgiving to be the last Thursday of November, which was later amended to the fourth Thursday in November.
Franklin Roosevelt observed Thanksgiving on the second to last Thursday of November for two more years, but the amount of public outrage prompted Congress to pass a law on December 26, 1941, ensuring all Americans would celebrate a unified Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November.
According to Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Ramona Peters, “It was Abraham Lincoln who used the theme of Pilgrims and Indians eating happily together in an attempt to calm tempers during the Civil War when people were divided. It was a nice unity story but it didn’t change the fact 1st Nation Indigenous Native Americans didn’t hate Europeans just for the clouds of shit-smelling awfulness they dragged around behind them. Missionaries met Indians who thought Europeans were “physically weak, sexually untrustworthy, atrociously ugly” and “possessed little intelligence in comparison to themselves.” The Europeans didn’t do much to debunk the comparison in the physical beauty department. Verrazzano, the sailor who witnessed the densely populated East Coast, called a native who boarded his ship “as beautiful in stature and build as I can possibly describe.” British fisherman William Wood described the Indians in New England as “more amiable to behold, though dressed only in Adam’s finery, than … an English dandy in the newest fashion.”
Frank Waln ~ “No matter where you live in America, you’re living on occupied land that Indigenous peoples’ we’re murdered for.”
In conclusion: If you’re going to be thankful for something this Thanksgiving Day be thankful Indigenous 1st Nations people only want equality and not White Genocide.