Thu Nov 28, 2013, 02:22 PM
TalkingDog (9,000 posts)
5 replies, 1799 views
America's very first welfare line (Original post)
|raging moderate||Nov 2013||#3|
Response to TalkingDog (Original post)
Thu Nov 28, 2013, 03:25 PM
raging moderate (1,083 posts)
3. The real Pilgrims knew it, too.
I once read some excerpts from the journals of one of them. The Pilgrims freely acknowledged the mercy and helpfulness of the local Native Americans. Of course the Pilgrims were fully human; when they were in the throes of death by starvation, some of them suddenly found some grain stashed somewhere and brought it home and cooked some for the survivors. Once they had some food in them, however, their consciences awoke, they realized that it must rightfully belong to somebody else, and they brought the rest of it back where they had found it. Later, I read elsewhere that this unusual action was noticed by the Native Americans, as was the tentative search by the Pilgrims for a small patch of land that did not belong to somebody else. This source said that this was why they helped the Pilgrims, who were the first Europeans they had ever seen showing any ideas of right and wrong.
On the day we are celebrating today, the Pilgrims rose early and started food cooking for the Thank-you picnic they had invited the local Native Americans to attend. They then held a two-hour church service thanking the Lord with song and prayer for their deliverance from extinction, and for the wonderful Native Americans who had surely been sent by Him. One source said there was one Pilgrim man who objected to the idea of "running into the woods to cavort with savages," but that "he was soon shouted down." Almost all the Pilgrims opted for the picnic, hoping their meager food would be enough. Luckily, Massasoit could see upon arrival that they were once again being over-optimistic, and several young Native American men did a quick hunting trip to supplement the little feast. It was said that the party lasted three days, and included singing, dancing, and games.
I also read a letter written decades later, which refused an invitation to join in a attack by European settlers against the Native Americans. It was in their archaic English, and I have forgotten the exact words. In essence, however, it said something like, "We are astonished that you have had so much trouble getting along with the Natives here, when we have found them to be generally fair, honest, and kind. Maybe that is because we have tried to be fair, honest, and kind in return. You should try it sometime; it works."
Of course, they were human, and the Pilgrims didn't always do the right thing. Also, subsequent generations of Pilgrims gradually lost their hard-won wisdom and melted into the rest of the population. Still, this story, including the wisdom, justice, and kindness of Massasoit and the Native American tribe (I just can't quite remember it: Penobscot?), floated around among the European settlers, now and then causing some of them to realize some little bit of obligation to the people who had been here first. And that is why the Pilgrim feast won the name of "The First Thanksgiving." Yes, we know about the feast the previous year; the Pilgrims had reportedly been hoping to reach Jamestown to participate in that one. That feast can be called the First Harvest Festival in America, carrying on an old Harvest Festival tradition from Europe. The Pilgrim feast was different. Those people had been rescued by the Native Americans, and some of them never forgot it. And it showed that, if two groups of people sincerely believe in being fair, honest, and kind, they can find common ground if they try hard enough, and have more for everybody to be thankful for.
Especially since this is Channukah, the role of the Jewish scriptures should be acknowledged here. The Pilgrim journal mentioned that, in their ordeal in a strange land, the Pilgrims were trying to hold on to the wisdom they had found in the Jewish scriptures, reminding each other that the Lord expected them to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God.
Response to raging moderate (Reply #3)
Thu Nov 28, 2013, 05:19 PM
Coyotl (11,229 posts)
4. Thanksgiving is the anniversary of a Native massacre, a celebration of genocide.
6 Thanksgiving Myths, Share Them With Someone You Know
The Thanksgiving Day Celebration Originated From a Massacre
In 1621, though the Pilgrims celebrated a feast, it was not repeated in the years to follow. In 1636, a murdered white man was found in his boat and the Pequot were blamed. In retaliation settlers burned Pequot villages.
Additionally, English Major John Mason rallied his troops to further burn Pequot wigwams and then attacked and killed hundreds more men, women and children. According to Mason’s reports of the massacre, “We must burn them! Such a dreadful terror let the Almighty fall upon their spirits that they would flee from us and run into the very flames. Thus did the Lord judge the heathen, filling the place with dead bodies.”
The Governor of Plymouth William Bradford wrote: “Those that escaped the fire were slain with the sword; some hewed to pieces, others run through with their rapiers, so that they were quickly dispatched and very few escaped. It was conceived they thus destroyed about 400 at this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire...horrible was the stink and scent thereof, but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the prayers thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them.”
The day after the massacre, the Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, William B. Newell, wrote that from that day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanks giving for subduing the Pequots and “For the next 100 years, every Thanksgiving Day ordained by a Governor was in honor of the bloody victory, thanking God that the battle had been won.”
Response to TalkingDog (Original post)
Thu Nov 28, 2013, 09:26 PM
Blanks (3,804 posts)
5. I always thought that the primary message of thanksgiving was:
don't travel to a foreign land with a large group of people without at least a rudimentary knowledge of agriculture.
...but I've never been very good at getting the intended message.