Thursday, November 22, 2007

THE THANKSGIVING MYTH

S. Brian Willson offers an alternate history of Thanksgiving beginning with: 'Native Americans in the Caribbean greeted their 1492 European invaders with warm hospitality. They were so innocent that Genoan Cristoforo Colombo wrote in his log, "They willingly traded everything they owned . . . They do not bear arms . . . They would make fine servants . . . They could easily be made Christians . . . With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want." This meeting set in motion a 500-year plunder of the Western Hemisphere, then spread to the remainder of the globe. And it has not stopped!'

So much for Christopher Columbus as a noble explorer. The story goes on to the settling of America who brought death to the Natives in the form of diseases and open battle and massacres. 'The Pequot tribe reportedly numbered 8,000 when the Pilgrims arrived, but disease had reduced their population to 1,500 by 1637, when the first, officially proclaimed, all-Pilgrim "Thanksgiving" took place. At that feast, the whites of New England celebrated their massacre of the Pequots. "This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots," read Massachusetts Bay Governor John Winthrop's proclamation. Few Pequots survived.'

So it goes.

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