It seems that the popular stance today is to reject Thanksgiving as a holiday that celebrates the raping of the indigenous American culture. Apparently in the new, revised, and popular history, the Pilgrims were celebrating the subjugation of the Indians who lived around them. In reality, there have been several incarnations of Thanksgiving in America over the last 400 years, and the first was ordained before the pilgrims even arrived. That’s right, On December 4, 1619, there was Thanksgiving:
“Wee ordaine that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty god.”
The next Thanksgiving was a harvest festival in 1621. (BTW, Squanto was a British slave. Leaving questions of slavery aside, he apparently had options and chose to stay with and assist the Pilgrims.) The settlers fed the Wampanoag people for three days.
As for this holiday that has always been, that’s not right either:
The first official Thanksgiving Proclamation made in America was issued by the Continental Congress in 1777. Six national Proclamations of Thanksgiving were issued in the first thirty years after the founding of the United States of America as an independent federation of States. President George Washington issued two, President John Adams issued two, President Thomas Jefferson made none and President James Madison issued two. After 1815 there were no more Thanksgiving Proclamations until the Presidency of Lincoln, who made two during the Civil War.
President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a Federal holiday as a “prayerful day of Thanksgiving” on the last Thursday in November. Since then every U.S. President has always made an official Thanksgiving Proclamation on behalf of the nation. President Franklin D. Roosevelt set the date for Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of November in 1939 (approved by Congress in 1941).
There ya go, the shortest possible history of Thanksgiving. And even if you do disagree with the way white people eventually treated the Native Americans, which I am in no way defending, so don’t go there, you really can’t blame the pilgrims for what later generations did. Enjoy your food, enjoy your family. Heck, go out on a limb and feed and enjoy your new friends as the pilgrims of Plymouth did. Find some other reason to adopt racial guilt; there are undoubtedly many of them, but this isn’t one of them.
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