It is common knowledge today that the Pilgrims came to America on the Mayflower. Children’s books depict a friendly existence between the Native Americans and Indians after that. The Native Americans showed them how to farm and fish and they coexisted as brethren. On Thanksgiving they had a merry feast together, Native Americans sat next to Pilgrims around a table and enjoyed the holiday amongst one another. Sadly, that’s not how the real story goes.
“I thought that the Pilgrims wanted a nice meal to give thanks to the Native Americans for their harvest. They teach us when we’re young that it’s this nice meal between the Pilgrims and the Indians but it’s not and I was so surprised to learn the truth,” said freshman, Amanda Guapisaca.
According to The American Pageant by David Kennedy, the Native Americans did indeed teach the Pilgrims how to live in the Americas but it was with reluctance. The first Thanksgiving was actually a meeting between the Native American tribe of the Wampanoags and the Puritan Pilgrims to discuss land negotiations.
Out of charity, the Native Americans brought the food to the event and the peaceful resolution to the negotiation led to a feast between the Wampanoags and Pilgrims, now commonly known as the first Thanksgiving.
The thirst for more land led to bloodshed between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans. Many were killed, tribes were torn apart, and their land was conquered. The Wampanoags, furious and in despair, sought revenge for the deaths and declared war against the Pilgrims, later known as “King Phillip’s War”.
The Native Americans lost and triumphed over the land, ridding it of Native Americans by either selling them in to slavery or pushing them to the borders of the English colonies. The many myths and misconceptions that surround Thanksgiving are astonishing.
“When I learned about the actual day of Thanksgiving I thought it was so nice that the Pilgrims and Native Americans could coexist so happily but once I learned in high school what had happened after to the Native Americans I felt so betrayed,” said Freshman, Zachary Damasco.
When making hand turkeys and gluing feathers to them, eating the real turkey and celebrating with family, celebrators of thanksgiving think of the significance of the day and without a doubt appreciate the holiday much more.
“The American Pageant” by David Kennedy