Saturday, November 27, 2004

Post-Thanksgiving Hangover

In another example courtesy of the Nashville Peace and Justice Coalition taking events from hundreds of years ago and applying 2004 views to them.

While we at NPJC hope everyone enjoys this Thanksgiving Holiday and are
able to celebrate our lives together, we also thought it be important to learn a
little history behind "Thanksgiving".


The Following text was taken from Russel Means' autobiography entitled :
"Where White Men Fear To Tread".

"When we met with the Wampanoag people, they told us that in researching the history of Thanksgiving, they had confirmed the oral history passed down through their generations. Most Americans know that Massasoit, Chief of the Wampanoag, had welcomed the so-called Pilgrim Fathers-and the seldom mentioned Pilgrim Mothers-to the shores where his people had lived for millennia. The Wampanoag taught the European colonists how to live in our hemisphere by showing them what wild foods they could gather, how, where, and what crops to plant, and how to harvest, dry, and preserve them.

The Wampanoag now wanted to remind white America of what had happened after
Massasoit's death. Massasoit was succeeded by his son, Metacomet, whom the
colonists called King Philip. In 1675-1676, to show "gratitude" for what Massasoit's people had done for their fathers and grandfathers, the Pilgrims manufactured an incident as a pretext to justify disarming the Wampanoag.

The whites went after the Wampanoag with guns, swords, cannons, and torches. Most, including Metacomet, were butchered. His wife and son were sold into slavery in the West Indies. His body was hideously drawn and quartered.

For twenty-five years afterward, Metacomet's skull was displayed on a pike above the whites' village. The real legacy of the Pilgrim Fathers is treachery.

Most Americans today believe that Thanksgiving celebrates a boar harvest, but that is not so.

By 1970, the Wampanoag had turned up a copy of a Thanksgiving proclamation made by the governor of the colony, the text revealed the ugly truth: After a
colonial militia had returned from murdering the men, women, and children of an
Indian village, the governor proclaimed a holiday and feast to give thanks for the massacre. He encouraged other colonies to do likewise-in other words, every
autumn the crops are in, go kill Indians and celebrate your murders with a feast. The Wampanoag we met at Plymouth came from everywhere in Massachusettes.

Like many other eastern nations, theirs had been all but wipe out. The survivors
found refuge in other Indian nations that had not succumbed to European diseases
or to violence. The Wampanoag went into hiding or joined the Six Nations or
found homes among the Delaware Shawnee nations, to name a few. Some also sought refuge in one of the two hundred eastern-seaboard nations that were later

Nothing remains of those nations but their names, and even some of those have been lost. Other Wampanoag, who couldn't reach another Indian nation, survived by intermarriage with black slaves or freedmen. It is hard to imagine a life terrible enough that people would choose instead, with all their progeny, to become slaves, but that is exactly what some Indians did."

The first settlers, explorers, and others did things that were wrong by today's standards. But what NPJC does not take into account is the world view at the time. It's good to know the entire picture of our history but the implication is that because the event isn't right by modern standards, we should throw it out and feel bad about this country, its history, and its first settlers. No more holidays for you.