The Dark History of Thanksgiving

Most of us associate Thanksgiving with gleeful faces and pumpkin pie. But little do you know… there’s more to it than you think.

Let us go back to the 17th century…

Before we can even think about a big feast, the Pilgrims and Native Americans came across a rough path. They had consistent wars with each that soon turned into a bloodshed, not comradeship. And that was one of the main effects of how these factions crossed lane.

In primary school, we were taught that Thanksgiving was based on the pilgrims, a person who makes a journey for religious reasons. However, the pilgrims associated themselves with the Wampanoag (Eastern) Indians because they were struggling on how to live in the New World. The pilgrims wanted to return the favor so they got together with the Wampanoag Indians and celebrated with a big feast in 1621. According to TIME, 90 men from the Wampanoag tribe and 50 Mayflower passenger that survived attended the feast. Based on, Smithsonian Magazine their menu included deer, fowl, and corn and the event lasted for three days.

Past centuries, Thanksgiving was a religious observance for pilgrims however on the hand it was mainly celebrated because of the colonial soldiers who had slaughtered 700 Pequot men, women, and children in what is now called Mystic, Connecticut. Even after what the Wampanoag Indians did for the English settlers, they went behind their back and brought disease that reduced the population of the Native Americans by as much as 90% from 1616 to 1619 and so on this was called the “Indian fever”, according to The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. Wanoanage responds to this by an attack, therefore the New England Confederation of Colonies declared war in 1675. The war drew attention to nearby tribes which caused them to join, one of them were Narragansetts and other colonies such as Rhode Island and Providence Plantations was dragged in the war.

Colonist relocated to more secure areas where on the hand, allied tribes and Wampanoag Indians were forced to flee their villages. In the meantime, Metacomet, chief to the Wampanoag people and the second son of the sachem Massasoit, crossed over into New York to recruit allies however he ended up getting attacked by Mohawks and his remaining allies were killed or sold into slavery in the West Indies, based on It Happened In Rhode Island.

Thanksgiving focuses on the innocent memories while ignoring all the bloodshed memories. Nowadays Thanksgiving is all gleeful faces and pumpkin pie but that’s not the whole history.