Thursday, November 22, 2007

Cooking the History Books: The Thanksgiving Massacre

Laura Elliff, Vice President, Native American Student Association asks "Is All That Turkey and Stuffing a Celebration of Genocide?" She goes on to discuss The standard history of Thanksgiving tells us that the "Pilgrims and Indians" feasted for three days, right? Most Americans believe that there was some magnificent bountiful harvest. In the Thanksgiving story, are the "Indians" even acknowledged by a tribe? No, because everyone assumes "Indians" are the same. So, who were these Indians in 1621?

History is written by the winners, and in the history of the land we call the United States of America the winners were the Europeans who came to this land and slaughtered the native peoples of this land. I am a descendent of those Europeans but I am aware enough to recognize genocide when I see it.

She explains the official Thanksgiving holiday we know did not come into existence until 1637. In 1621 there was some kind of feast held in this context: "Pilgrims perceived Indians in relation to the Devil and the only reason why they were invited to that feast was for the purpose of negotiating a treaty that would secure the lands for the Pilgrims"

In 1637 there was a massacre of 700 native peoples of the Pequot tribe, and the Governor of Massachusetts declared "A day of Thanksgiving, thanking God that they had eliminated over 700 men, women and children." It was signed into law that, "This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots."

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