What we celebrate as Thanksgiving has been credited to a feast in 1621 that took place in Massachusetts. The Wampanoag American Indians not only fed the Pilgrims but taught them how to cultivate crops and fish. This act of kindness saved the Pilgrims from starvation. Eventually, as history tells us, the American Indians were pushed back into the West and those that did not were killed in unfair battles with guns versus tomahawks.
(I used the image below to say, “We all know Thanksgiving history. Why does this painting show the Pilgrims sharing with the American Indians when it was the complete opposite?)
If the guns did not kill the American Indians, biological warfare did. As early as 1763, there is recorded instances of William Trent, the commander of Fort Pitt (now western Pennsylvania) commissioning the handing out of blankets and handkerchiefs from a Pittsburgh smallpox hospital to the indigenous people in the middle of a war he was losing. Even though there is debate on what his intentions were, there is no doubt that a smallpox infection spread throughout the land and continued for more than 100 years.
Some of us may think that the original Thanksgiving feast involved Pilgrims killing American Indians right after they were fed but it happened over time. The exaggeration is not so far from the truth though. So should we not celebrate the American Indians teaching the Pilgrims how to survive, which led to their eventual doom? Or should we just celebrate the kind act of the Indians and not think of the history that followed?
All Things Thanksgiving: