by Chris Stevenson
White people love white people, and black people love white people. Where does this leave the Native Americans? Exactly where white colonialists intended them to be left. This brings us to the holiday more whitewashed than any other in this nation’s history; you know it as Thanksgiving Day and are thankful for that. Little attention is paid to what should be it’s real name; Thankstaking Day. The Pilgrims gave nothing to the Native American Indians, not that they were really capable of being thankful. But they were happy. Thanksgiving as we know it began as a celebration of a successful harvest season in Plymouth Massachusetts in 1621. There were earlier Thanksgivings with various colonies, but on this particular year in the northeast the Pilgrims were taught to catch eel, fish, hunt, grow corn, in what amounted to an intense 1-year training program by the Wampanoag tribe.They also benefited greatly from the donations from the Wampanoag’s food storage during times the English didn’t send food to them. Ah yes, the self-sufficient whites.
These Pilgrims in particular were plain and simple a group of religious deserters and malcontents from England who opposed state interference in matters regarding the Church of England. They would eventually separate during the 1500s and given funding by the English to establish a colony in America in 1620. During this “discovery” of America the Wampanoag would experience a decline in population due to exposure to diseases like the 7-day fever and smallpox during the years 1633, 1635, 1654, 1661, and 1667. The biggest of all diseases for them was Christianity. Like the literal ailments the English and French brought over with them, they seemed immune to their religious teachings, and best acted as carriers. They practiced little of what they preached. European Christianity would in time divide the Wampanoag and de-culturalize them.
John Eliot would lead some Puritan missionaries (more hostile to the Indians than the Pilgrims) to help establish “praying towns” for the tribe to be resettled in. Essentially internment-like camp where they would be prohibited from their normal practices the white colonialists would notice them doing; pre-marital sexual experimentation (Wampanoag society would permit sex between a perspective couple to help them determine if they were compatible), polygamy, matriarchal-run households, and migratory farming as a way to “civilize” them into English ways of life. Part of this semi-detainment began years beforehand beginning with a fear the Pilgrims developed shortly after their first successful harvest and Thanksgiving, a fear that may have been based on them hearing news about their fellow colonialists in Virginia being slaughtered in what is now known today as; the Indian Massacre of 1622. The mass-killing of all men, women, and children was a response to John Smith’s ordering spontaneous raids upon Native Americans.
Prior to the 1621 Thanksgiving, some Wampanoag were captured as slaves by Captain Thomas Hunt by enticing them to board his ship. This was in 1614. He would transport them to Spain to be sold as slaves. This capturing of Native Americans was not unusual and was a few years before the first Africans were imported to American colonies in 1619-1620. The Pilgrims had another Thanksgiving in 1623 (July 30). This observance wasn’t communal as the 1621 one pretended to be, it was a celebration of privatized farming. What they learned from the Wampanoag was enhanced by a 14-day rain, resulting in an even larger harvest.
This is just a short history of the beginning of Native American/Euro-Colonial relations that spread from the south and northeast and spread throughout the country; lies, broken treaties, massacres and genocide. It’s very possible to learn from this as we stuff ourselves and watch NFL football. Many of the offspring of Pilgrims, Puritans, and colonialists are still as fearful today as their ancestors were, only their prime targets has gone from red to black. That we’re living in the era of an African American President also proves over the last 4 years that; many whites fear black moral supervision.
Chris Stevenson is a regular columnist for blackcommentator, Political Affairs Magazine, and a syndicated columnist. Follow him on Twitter, and Facebook, you don’t have to join any of them. Watch his video commentary Policy & Prejudice and The Network for clbTV. Respond to him on the link below.