When you were sitting at your Thanksgiving table, did you begin your “feast” with a prayer to “GOD”, the “GREAT CREATOR” or whomever you believe to be your deity? I relate Thanksgiving to Slavery and Bloodbaths by those people who came to the Americas without being invited. It was the home of many tribes of Native Americans.
Most of us associate the holiday with happy Pilgrims and Indians sitting down to a big feast, once. I believe that the entire human race and its progress were based on slavery. In 1614, a band of English explorers sailed from the Americas home to England with a ship full of Pawtuxet Indians bound for slavery. These Pilgrims left behind smallpox by the time that the Pilgrims arrived back in Massachusetts Bay they found only one living Pawtuxet Indian, a man named Squanto who had survived slavery in England and knew their language. He taught them to grow corn and to fish, and negotiated a peace treaty between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Nation. At the end of their first year, the Pilgrims held a great feast honoring Squanto and the Wampanoag’s. A peaceful Thanksgiving?
As word spread in England about the paradise to be found in the new world, religious zealots called Puritans began arriving by the boatload. Finding no fences around the land, they considered it to be in the public domain. Joined by other British settlers, they seized land, capturing strong young Natives for slaves and killing the rest. The Pequot Nation had not agreed to the peace treaty Squanto had negotiated and they fought back. The Pequot War was one of the bloodiest Indian wars ever fought. With white Puritans illegally taking land from the Indians and placing the strongest into slavery.
In 1637 near present day Groton, Connecticut, over 700 men, women and children of the Pequot Tribe had gathered for their annual Green Corn Festival, which is an America’s Thanksgiving celebration. In the predawn hours, English and Dutch mercenaries who ordered them to come outside surrounded the sleeping Indians. Those who came out were shot or clubbed to death while the terrified women and children who huddled inside the longhouse were burned alive. The next day the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared “A Day of Thanksgiving” because 700 unarmed men, women and children had been murdered.
Cheered by their “victory”, the colonists and their Indian allies attacked village after village. Women and children over 14 were sold into slavery while the rest were murdered. Boats loaded with as many as 500 slaves regularly left the ports of New England. Bounties were paid for Indian scalps to encourage as many deaths as possible.
Following an especially successful raid against the Pequot in what is now Stamford, Connecticut, the churches announced a second day of “thanksgiving” to celebrate victory over the heathen savages. During the feasting, the hacked off heads of Natives were kicked through the streets like soccer balls. Even the friendly Wampanoag did not escape the madness. Their chief was beheaded, and his head impaled on a pole in Plymouth, Massachusetts — where it remained on display for 24 years.
The killings became more and more turbulent, with days of thanksgiving feasts being held after each successful massacre. George Washington the first founding father finally suggested that only one day of Thanksgiving per year be set aside instead of celebrating each and every massacre. Later Abraham Lincoln decreed Thanksgiving Day to be a legal national holiday during the Civil War — on the same day he ordered troops to march against the starving Sioux in Minnesota.
This story doesn’t have quite the same warm feelings associated with it as the one where the Indians and Pilgrims are all sitting down together at the big feast. Nevertheless, we need to learn our true history so it will not ever be repeated. Next Thanksgiving, when you gather with your loved ones to Thank God for all your blessings, think about those people who only wanted to live their lives and raise their families, they also took time out to say “thank you” to Creator for all their blessings. How they died defending the soil they lived on…isn’t that what America does today, defend the soil of this country? Does each and every American want to live on their land, pray for peace without the possibility of being slaughtered, well, that is all the Indians wanted. Each and every American gain was paid for by the blood of whom you now call Native Americans or Blacks in Slavery.
Is Thanksgiving really the word we want to use? Is it possible that we are no different from any other country? We have been squatters, takers and killers on this land called America for years. If you want to “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN”, “GIVE IT BACK”.