The Truth Behind the Day
It’s that time of the year again. Time to binge on pumpkin pie, meet those family members that you never knew you even had, and lay on the couch watching football. But most of all, Thanksgiving is the time to give thanks, right? Just like Christmas, the only reason we celebrate Thanksgiving is out of the goodness of our hearts, never for superficial reasons. We start off months in advance, preparing the perfect recipe for those mashed potatoes, but for what? Come to think of it, as Americans we really do not know that much about Thanksgiving. Most of us think of Thanksgiving as he day the Pilgrims and the Indians all gathered around a table, socializing and feasting, but we do not know the full story. Let us take a look at the story we all have been told, from the very beginning. The Pilgrims set sail back home, to England. Or rather, the Pilgrims set sail back home with a ship loaded with Native Americans, that were meant to be sold as slaves. The story has already taken a grim turn but this is the true, unfiltered reality. During their voyage, nearly all the Native Americans were killed by Smallpox, which the Pilgrims had transferred to them. But Squanto, a Native American who was able to verbally interact with them survived, teaching them how to plant, and eventually constructing a peace treaty between his people and the Pilgrims. But, most of our textbooks fail to include a minor detail, not all the Native American tribes had agreed to this treaty. Fueled by their thirst for control, the Puritans also immigrated to America, immediately claiming owned land and recklessly enslaving and killing the Native American residents. As luck would have it, the Puritans had disrupted the lives of those in the Pequot Nation, one of the tribes that had not signed the treaty. And as expected, chaos followed. Till today, the Pequot War is still considered to be one of the bloodiest Indian wars in history. Several years into the war, the Pilgrims committed mass murder. Approximately seven hundred unsuspecting Native Americans killed, while several others were sold into slavery. The following day, the governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony claimed a ‘Day of Thanksgiving’ as a celebration of the hundreds of Native Americans they had managed to execute. And so the Pilgrims and their Indian allies feasted, as hundreds of Native Americans lay dead at their feet. But for the Pilgrims, conquering the Pequot land was a true moment of glory, so another day of Thanksgiving was claimed. And so the Pilgrims gave thanks, as they decapitated the heads of the Native Americans, including the chief of Squanto’s tribe, and kicking them along the street simply as soccer balls. As the Pilgrims committed more and more mass murders, more days of Thanksgiving were held. Until President George Washington put his foot down and said that it was foolish to celebrate after every massacre, so why not hold one official day of giving thanks. Thanksgiving was made an official holiday, which many of believe is the day to thank our loved ones, without knowing this dark day’s original intent. While you are eating that second slice of pumpkin pie, take a minute to think about what Thanksgiving really was. Though it wasn’t our finest moment and may be considered one of the darkest parts of our history, it is still engrained into our history. So let us give thanks for history not repeating itself, for change, for development, and lastly, for our right to complete knowledge.