When you hear the word ‘“Thanksgiving”, you think of pilgrims and the Wampanoag sitting at a table happily eating turkey, right? That’s what all your school teachers taught you, but is Thanksgiving what it seems to be?
The story starts with the pilgrims in England, where they were considered separatists. King James, who was the king of England at the time, hated them, so they fled to Holland.
Meanwhile, the Native Americans had started trading with the Europeans. As they were trading, the Europeans brought a disease along with them, and it was passed on to the Native Americans, who did not have any immunity to it. Colony by colony, the natives started to die out.
Now the pilgrims were afraid of losing their nationality, so they decided to go to America, and had decided to make money from fish. When they saw Cape Cod, they had no idea how to fish, so they started to steal from the graves of the natives who had died. One day, the natives came, and there was a war. Fortunately, no one was killed but the pilgrims were driven out.
They sailed and sailed, and finally, they arrived at Plymouth. People always say that they landed on “Plymouth Rock” but they didn’t really land on a specific rock. there, they found Squanto, who had previously grown up there but had been kidnapped and shipped to Spain as a slave. After 4 years, he came back to find his whole tribe dead. Over the passing months, Squanto helped the pilgrims grow food and make a treaty with the Massasoit, the leader of the Wampanoag. The treaty stated that they would work to protect each other.
By the fall, the pilgrims had a plentiful harvest, and to celebrate this, they held a Thanksgiving feast. The pilgrims provided a variety of fish, vegetables, and perhaps a few wild turkey, and Massasoit came with 90 men and 5 deer. The sport that they played wasn’t football, but shooting, in which both the pilgrims and natives shared an interest in.
But that is not the end of the story. Squanto, realizing his power as the only person who was able to speak english, decided to try to overthrow Massasoit. He got the local people to believe that he could make the pilgrims do anything he wanted,but eventually, people got suspicious. They warned Governor Bradford, who told Massasoit. Massasoit was furious, and wanted to kill Squanto. But just before he did, a unidentified ship arrived. This ship contained some colonists that wanted to create a colony in Boston.
After that, more and more people started to come, they didn’t care about the natives, and started to take over. Colonists started to outnumber the natives, and while the peace treaty between the pilgrims and Wampanoag lasted, other colonists didn’t care about these alliances. Soon, the native population started to go down.
The story of Thanksgiving is truly not the happy one your teachers seem to always tell you. Stories don’t always end up having happy endings. Not everything ends tied up in a big red ribbon. Thanksgiving isn’t just a happy feast with turkey and cranberry sauce.