"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect." - Chief Seattle, Duwamish
The entire US is celebrating the Thanksgiving tradition today.
We should all be thankful and grateful for the bounty of life itself. Not just its accessories. That life as a human being has been bestowed upon us is the greatest blessing in itself. No matter how it pans out socially.
Thankfulness should be a phenomenon in our being at every moment. That is the way for those who have touched life to live.
Thanksgiving tradition in the US, however, hides a genocide.
It was tailor-made to wash away the greatest decimation of one group of people by another in the history of mankind. In that, there is nothing to be thankful for.
Popular Story of Thanksgiving
When Mayflower came to the American land, those on it anchored near Cape Cod and after a month they crossed the Massachusetts Bay and settled in a village in Plymouth. They went through the winter here. During Spring in March, they met an Abenaki Indian who talked to them in English. Not only that, he brought another Native called Squanto (Pawtuxet tribe) who had been kidnapped and sold in Europe to return back. He taught them to fish, to collect sap from maple trees, and cultivate corn. And helped create an alliance with the Wampanoag tribe. Then in November 1621, after Pilgrim’s first corn harvest, Governor William Bradford celebrated the first Thanksgiving feast.
That is the popular story of Thanksgiving.
A lie – deceitful one at that – that has been propagated by those who committed genocide to feel good about themselves somehow!
And now, the Real Story…
Now, what people often miss is that these Native Americans who were talking in English with the Pilgrims and working with them had themselves been slaves! Who was the real Squanto? That is an interesting story of how these settlers were in for only gain.
The story of “happy Pilgrims and friendly Indians” is not quite the truth. So let us understand what was the REAL story of “Thanksgiving”.
For the start, let us go back to the origin of this story in 1614 (six years before the Mayflower visit). In that year, Thomas Hunt – an Englishman – kidnapped Tisquantum from his village, Patuxet along with scores of others from the Wampanoag area and sold them to slavery in Spain. Some say that people didn’t approve of slavery at that time, and Tisquantum escaped. He somehow made his way back to American land in 1619 to what is now known as Massachusetts.
However, during Tisquantum’s absence from his homeland, a French shipwreck near Cape Cod had brought a French sailor carrying an infectious disease to this area and most of the Native American population was wiped out. So, when Tisquantum returned back to his village Patuxet, he was the ONLY living survivor of that place!
Since the Native Americans did not like Europeans coming and stealing their lands, the white men had a fight on their hands in most of the places. However, in Patuxet, they found the land cleared of all native people.
The Pilgrims called this mass decimation of Native Americans – a sad event – “God’s providence”!
The evil god had found a way to let them stay in this land. Tisquantum’s (aka Squanto) village Patuxet came to be called Plymouth!
Paula Peters, a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe and an expert on Wampanoag history, says on her website: “The graveyard of [Tisquantum’s] people became Plymouth Colony.”
By this time 75 percent of the Wampanoag population had died due to the infectious disease brought by the Europeans. Massasoit, a local Wampanoag leader – didn’t trust Tisquantum (Squanto) on his return from England and put him under house arrest until the Pilgrims showed up. That is when Squanto suddenly showed up to meet and greet the Pilgrims in English!! As Peters says:
“While it was by far not the first occasion of human trafficking conducted by European explorers to the new world, the capture of Squanto and his fellow tribesmen would forever alter the course of history for people on two continents.”
What I find rather disconcerting and disingenuous is that somehow the Americans go about their lives during Thanksgiving – celebrating and feasting – as if this is somehow a glorious tradition. IT IS NOT! It represents the worst that mankind has had to offer.
Yes, we should all be forever grateful for our life, friends, family, and what we have. Not as a means to hide the greatest crime ever committed in human history.
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