(from Native Circle)
The Thanksgiving Myth
by John Two-Hawks
Let me begin by stating that thousands of years before the 'official'
Thanksgiving Day was proclaimed by Governor Winthrop of the
Massachussetts Bay Colony in 1637, North American Indigenous
people across the continent had celebrated seasons of Thanksgiving.
'Thanksgiving' is a very ancient concept to American Indian nations.
The big problem with the American Thanksgiving holiday is its false
association with American Indian people. The infamous 'Indians and
pilgrims' myth. It is good to celebrate Thanksgiving, to be thankful
for your blessings. It is not good to distort history, to falsely portray
the origin of this holiday and lie about the truth of its actual inception.
Here are some accurate historical facts about the true origin of this
American holiday that may interest you...
'Thanksgiving' did not begin as a great loving relationship between the
pilgrims and the Wampanoag, Pequot and Narragansett people. In fact,
in October of 1621 when the 'pilgrim' survivors of their first winter in
Turtle Island sat down to share the first unofficial 'Thanksgiving' meal,
the Indians who were there were not even invited! There was no turkey,
squash, cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie. A few days before this alleged
feast took place, a company of 'pilgrims' led by Miles Standish actively
sought the head of a local Indian leader, and an 11 foot high wall was
erected around the entire Plymouth settlement for the very purpose of
keeping Indians out! Officially, the holiday we know as 'Thanksgiving'
actually came into existence in the year 1637. Governor Winthrop of the
Massachussetts Bay Colony proclaimed this first official day of Thanksgiving
and feasting to celebrate the return of the colony's men who had arrived
safely from what is now Mystic, Connecticut. They had gone there to
participate in the massacre of over 700 Pequot men, women and children,
and Mr. Winthrop decided to dedicate an official day of thanksgiving
complete with a feast to 'give thanks' for their great 'victory'....
As hard as it may be to conceive, this is the actual origin of our current
Thanksgiving Day holiday. Many American Indian people these days do
not observe this holiday, for obvious reasons. I see nothing wrong with
gathering with family to give thanks to our Creator for our blessings and
sharing a meal. I do, however, hope that Americans as a whole will one
day acknowledge the true origin of this holiday, and remember the pain,
loss, and agony of the Indigenous people who suffered at the hands of
the so-called 'pilgrims'. It is my hope that children's plays about 'the
first Thanksgiving', complete with Indians and pilgrims chumming at
the dinner table, will someday be a thing of the past. Why perpetuate
a lie? Let us face the truths of the past, and give thanks that we are
learning to love one another for the rich human diversity we share.
(Written by John Two-Hawks)