Friday, December 28, 2012
thankstaking- Native American Pequot Tribe's 1637 Thanksgiving: A Travesty Options People are taught about the First Thanksgiving which was celebrated by Pilgrims and Wampanoagans in 1621, but history seems to ignore the 1637 travesty. Jill Stefko By Jill Stefko on Nov 16, 2010 1 comment First Thanksgiving Led to Pequot Massacre - Public Domain Wiki Commons (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e2/Thanksgiving-Brownscombe.PNG ) US schoolchildren learn about the first Thanksgiving when Pilgrims and the Wampanoagans, also “Wampanoags,” celebrated their first harvest in by giving thanks and feasting. Samoset and Squanto taught the Pilgrims planting and other survival skills, so Pilgrim leader Captain Miles Standish invited them, Chief Massasoit and other Wampanoagans to the three day celebration. Wampanoagan Roots of Thanksgiving The Wampanoagans had six yearly harvest festivals. The Maple Dance, thanking the Creator for maple trees and their syrup, was the beginning of their new year. Next was the Planting Feast, when seeds were blessed, followed by the Strawberry Festival, celebrating the first fruits of the season. Summer’s Green Corn Festival gave thanks for ripening corn and late fall’s Harvest Festival gave thanks for the harvested crops, which coincides with the first Thanksgiving. There’s a dearth of information about the Midwinter Festival, the last one of the old year. First Thanksgiving: Squanto’s Journeys Squanto, a member of the Pokanokit Wampanoagan Nation, was from Patuxet. In 1605, he traveled to England with English explorer John Weymouth, where he learned the language. After he returned to New England Squanto was captured by a British slaver and sold to Spaniards in the Caribbean Islands. A Franciscan priest helped him get to England via Spain. Squanto found Weymouth, who paid his way home. While in England, Squanto met Samoset, Wabanake Tribe member, who also left New England with an English explorer. They returned to Patuxet in 1620. When they arrived, they found a deserted village and skeletons of those who had died from smallpox, which English slavers brought with them. They stayed with neighboring Wampanoagans. In the spring of 1621, Squanto and Samoset were hunting near Patuxet and saw Pilgrims in the deserted village. They watched the colonists for several days before they approached them and offered to teach them New World survival skills. Pequot Tribe’s 1637 Thanksgiving Massacre When news spread in England about the New World paradise, more Puritans and others immigrated. They considered the land as public domain because there were no fences. Colonists seized land, captured AmerIndians for slaves and killed the rest. The Pequot Nation hadn’t agreed to the peace treaty Squanto negotiated and fought back in what’s called “The Pequot War.” In 1637, over 700 Pequot men, women and children gathered for their Green Corn Festival. In the predawn morning, they were surrounded by Dutch and English mercenaries who ordered them to come outside. Those who obeyed were shot or clubbed to death while women and children huddled inside the longhouse and were burned alive. The next day the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared this travesty "A Day of Thanksgiving" because helpless people were murdered. The 1637 massacre happened because colonists wanted revenge for a murder of an English trader who kidnapped children. They suspected Pequots killed him. William Bradford, in his History of the Plymouth Plantation, celebrated the travesty as a victory, and Pilgrims thanked God for giving them swift triumph over their enemy. Future “Thanksgiving” Massacres Led to the Holiday’s Recognition Colonists and their AmerIndian allies attacked more villages. Women and children over the age of fourteen were sold into slavery; the rest, murdered. Ships full of slaves left New England. Bounties were paid for AmerIndian scalps. Churches, in what is now Stamford, Connecticut, declared a second day of "thanksgiving" to celebrate victory over “heathen savages.” Colonists kicked decapitated Pequots’ heads through the streets while they feasted. Wampanoagans weren’t immune from persecution. Their chief‘s decapitated head, impaled on a pole in Plymouth, Massachusetts, was on display.