The Truth Behind Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is associated with unity and respect between the Englishmen and Native Americans, but what’s the true story?

The Truth Behind Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving. The word brings many images to people’s minds of food, family, football, and history. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole are a few of the popular dishes to make their way to the holiday table. Entire families often fly in from different states to gather at one house and have fun, usually with the sound of a football game playing in the background. But when it comes to the history, do Americans actually know the truth about Thanksgiving?

The answer in most cases is no. Schools like to teach the happy and peaceful story of unity between the Native Americans and Englishmen on the day of thanksgiving, but the harmony never actually existed. Yes, there was a day where a Native American and many English colonists sat down to have a feast, but the story leading up to that moment is a brutal one, and the Natives were largely excluded from that feast anyway.

It all started with the Patuxet, a tribe of Native Americans who were captured and forced into slavery. Smallpox wiped out almost all of the tribe, and when the Pilgrims reached New England, only one Patuxet named Squanto survived. Squanto happened to know the English language and taught the colonists how to farm and formed a peace treaty between the English pilgrims and the Wampanoag Natives.

Not long after the original Pilgrims arrived, the Puritans followed. A war between the Pequot tribe and Puritans broke out, becoming one of the bloodiest wars in Native American history.

The feast, then known as the Green Corn Festival (a native american tradition), became known as Thanksgiving when 700 Pequots were killed at the festival. This brutal day is now celebrated as a day of “unity and peace” in modern day America.

Thanksgiving, a day of celebration and family gatherings for Americans, is known as the ‘Day of Mourning’ for Natives. In Plymouth, Massachusetts people can spend thanksgiving one of two ways. They can go and watch the parade march through the town, or they can spend time with the Native Americans who fast on the fourth Thursday of November in honor of those who died in the Indian wars.

So, when you sit down on Thanksgiving and gather around with your family, eating great meals and saying what you are thankful for, just remember what the holiday is truly about. And remember, many things are not as they originally seem.

If you want to learn more about this holiday, the following links will help: