Thursday, November 24, 2016


As the story commonly goes, the Pilgrims who sailed from England on the Mayflower and landed at Plymouth Rock near 1620 and started a colony. The white pilgrims were in danger of starving to death since they were unfamiliar with how to grow things on the land until the Native Americans showed them what to do.  Grateful to the Native Americans for keeping them from starving to death during their first winter, the white pilgrims invited the Native Americans to dinner for a feast.  This was the first Thanksgiving in what would later become the United States.
This is the nice little story taught in elementary schools everywhere for decades.  It's not even close to true. I tend to guess that white children were most of the ones allowed to continue believing this story past 3rd or 4th grade.

Apparently, Abraham Lincoln made this story up years and years later in order to calm things down during The Civil War. According to the Wampanoag people, the specific Native Americans or "Indians" described in this age old tale of peaceful communion, this story that most of us recognize as 'The First Thanksgiving' isn't even close to true  

Feeling Rebloggy
So [Abraham Lincoln's First Thanksgiving Story] was a political thing?
Yes, it was public relations. It’s kind of genius, in a way, to get people to sit down and eat dinner together. Families were divided during the Civil War.
So what really happened?
We made a treaty. The leader of our nation at the time—Yellow Feather Oasmeequin [Massasoit] made a treaty with (John) Carver [the first governor of the colony]. They elected an official while they were still on the boat. They had their charter. They were still under the jurisdiction of the king [of England]—at least that’s what they told us. So they couldn’t make a treaty for a boatload of people so they made a treaty between two nations—England and the Wampanoag Nation.
What did the treaty say?
It basically said we’d let them be there and we would protect them against any enemies and they would protect us from any of ours. [The 2011 Native American copy coin commemorates the 1621 treaty between the Wampanoag tribe and the Pilgrims of Plymouth colony.] It was basically an I’ll watch your back, you watch mine’ agreement. Later on we collaborated on jurisdictions and creating a system so that we could live together.
What’s the Mashpee version of the 1621 meal?
You’ve probably heard the story of how Squanto assisted in their planting of corn? So this was their first successful harvest and they were celebrating that harvest and planning a day of their own thanksgiving. And it’s kind of like what some of the Arab nations do when they celebrate by shooting guns in the air. So this is what was going on over there at Plymouth. They were shooting guns and canons as a celebration, which alerted us because we didn’t know who they were shooting at. So Massasoit gathered up some 90 warriors and showed up at Plymouth prepared to engage, if that was what was happening, if they were taking any of our people. They didn’t know. It was a fact-finding mission.... 


When we don't know the truth our intermingled histories, we are collectively going to repeat the worst of our mistakes again and again and again.

The struggle at DAPL seems like worst of U.S. history repeating itself. A broken treaty, environmental racism, and regular racism is at the center of this struggle along with police brutality. If you don't know what's happening to indigenous people in North Dakota, now is the time to learn.

Education is the first step toward stopping the cycle of abuse of indigenous people. The second step is figuring out how you've indirectly benefited from the abuse of others (cheaper fuel costs etc).  The third step is to be grateful for what you have at Thanksgiving while trying to find small ways to remove your tacit support of the abuse of others.