The history of American Thanksgiving

· Humour, Popular culture


This is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, and I am definitely grateful for all that I have, but there is a history to the holiday that is not all dressing and stuffing! According to the site I’m summarizing, his is the history of Thanksgiving from a Native American point of view. Supposedly, the Christian God (in whom I definitely believe; make no mistake!) helped the colonizing European invaders usurp the land of Native Americans.


In history books in America, you can read that after the first harsh New England winter, the European pilgrims invited the Natives to a celebratory feast. However, the truth, according to this site, is a capitalistic overthrow of an entire people. In 1614 the British arrived in New England and took 24 slaves back with them to Europe. The Mayflower ship in 1620 transported over 100 exiles to the coast of North America.


What the colonists could not do, nature did. Smallpox and other diseases ravaged the Indian population to the extent that there were fewer than 50, and John Winthrop accounted this as a divine miracle, clearing the way for the colonists to take over the land and ‘protect’ the Indians who were already there. Of course, there hadn’t been disease there from what I understand before the Europeans arrived.


Ownership of the land that the colonists took over so conveniently was an important issue because their way of farming was individual, not communal. (Hey, they weren’t Communists!). Several annoying people claimed that the Indians owned the land since they had been there first. John Winthrop said that since the Indians had not cultivated the land effectively, it was in the public domain and ready for the taking. Winthrop became Governor and founder of the Massachusetts colony.


The Protestant ethic of the Puritans who had been displaced from England turned into a capitalist ethic. Trade occurred between the Puritans and English, as well as the Puritans and Indians.


These Puritans also believed in predestination, a doctrine which holds that most human beings are fated for eternal damnation. Fortunately, the Calvinistic Puritans who believed this message were not the ones who were going to be damned forever, because that would have been extremely depressing and just plain awkward.


The pattern repeated in 1633 when the British took over the land (stole) from the Pequot tribe in Hartford, Connecticut. There ensued a horrible war with many Pequots being brutally murdered. Again fortunately, in the Bible there is a lot of violent death, so, whew!, the visiting Christians could justify their mass slaughter of those rebellions and pesky Pequots. According to a fellow named Masons, sometimes it is necessary for even women and children to die. Notice how the ones who need to die are never in the same group as the killers? It works out just so well.


Then the real fun began with captured Indians and kidnapped Africans. Forcing people to become slaves fit in well with the requirements of the colonists. All jokes aside, to the brother who watched and laughed while a captured Indians was skinned alive and forced to eat his own flesh…I hope that you’ve been in a very bad place for a very long time.


The Wampanoag tribe, which had celebrated Thanksgiving Day with the colonists, now became inconvenient for the colonists, and were disposed of summarily.



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