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Old 11-28-2008
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Default Re: Thanksgiving: The Truth

Originally Posted by tecpaocelotl View Post

Thanksgiving: The Truth

Most of us associate the Thanksgiving holiday with happy Pilgrims and Indians sitting down to a big feast. And that did happen - once.
The story began in 1614 when a band of English explorers sailed home to England with a ship full of Patuxet Indians bound for slavery. They left behind smallpox which virtually wiped out the Natives who had escaped.
In 1620, when some separatists from the Church of England (now called Pilgrims) arrived in Massachusetts Bay, they found only one living Patuxet Indian, a man named Squanto who had survived slavery...first in Spain and then in England where he learned the English language. Squanto was originally from the village of Patuxet and a member of the Pokanokit Wampanoag Nation. Patuxet once stood on the exact site where the Pilgrims built Plymouth. The wheat the Pilgrims had brought with them to plant would not grow in the rocky soil...they needed to learn new ways for a new world. Squanto taught them to grow corn, to hunt and to fish. He also 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 Wampanoags.
But as word spread in England about the paradise to be found in the new world, religious zealots (Puritans) began arriving by the boat load...their mentality did not tolerate differing political, social and religious beliefs. Finding no fences around the land, they considered it to be in the public domain. With a Bible in their hands to justify their every move, the Puritans began their march inland from the seaside communities. Joined by other 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. 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 was one of their Thanksgiving celebrations. In the predawn hours the sleeping Indians were surrounded by English and Dutch mercenaries who ordered them to come outside. 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 brave colonists attacked village after village. Women and children over 14 were sold into slavery while the rest were murdered. Boats loaded with a 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, another day of 'thanksgiving' was announced 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 all to see.
The killings became more and more frenzied, with a 'thanksgiving feast' being held after each successful massacre. George Washington finally suggested that only one day of Thanksgiving per year be set aside, instead of celebrating each and every massacre. Years later, during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln decreed Thanksgiving Day to be a legal national holiday -- he did this on the same day he ordered troops to march against the starving Sioux in Minnesota.
This story doesn't have quite the same fuzzy feelings associated with it as the one where the Indians and Pilgrims are all sitting down together at the big feast. But we need to learn our true history so it won't ever be repeated.
Why does the truh have to be so damn long?
If I wanted to read that much, I'd still be in school.
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