Thanksgiving and Native American Wisdom

Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving ?

Sarah Josepha Hale, of Massachusetts, and editor of the popular magazine Godey’s Lady’s Book, campaigned for a national Thanksgiving Day to promote unity, and on October 3, 1863, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26. In 1942, Roosevelt issued a proclamation designating the fourth Thursday in November (which is not always the last Thursday) as Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving and the Native American Wisdom

The Wampanoag Indians [People of the Dawn] lived in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, including Martha’s Vineyard. They speak “Algonquian ” language.

They taught the Pilgrims how to smoke and dry deer meat and fish and how to plant the three sisters — corn, beans and squash — in mounds fertilized by fish and used powdered tobacco as a natural insect repellent,” how to navigate from place to place by water and over land, how to tan hides used for clothing, how to identify toxic plants and berries and explained the medicinal and culinary use of indigenous herbs.”

The English settlers were Protestants searching a new life and religious freedom from  the Church of England. About 100 passengers landed in Cape Cod around the beginning of Winter of 1620. For a full list of passengers click here.

They spent that winter in the Mayflower with the help from the Wampanoag chief Samoset, and Squanto who had experience with other Settlers who had visited the area, so he spoke English.
The Settlers and the Native Americans signed a formal agreement. They worked together to protect each other from other Native American tribes in the area.

In the Fall of 1621, the settlers wanted to celebrate their harvest according to the Feast of  as it is written in the Bible, and invited the Wampanoag chief, however, they did not have enough food for everybody, and the Wampanoag indians brought deer, rabbit, fish, and other vegetables. The celebration lasted for three days, and it was a trully wonderful Thanksgiving. 

English Words from Native American languages. bayou, canoe, caribou, coyote hickory, jerky,  kayak, moccasin,  moose, powwow, raccoon, Skunk,  toboggan, tepee, tomahawk, totem, tobaco, wigwam.

Names of tribes that have been applied to places, including states Connecticut, Illinois, Delaware, Massachusett, Iowa, Kansas, Alabama, Missouri, Wyoming. Cities and towns: Miami, Montauk, Mobile, Biloxi, Cheyenne, Natchez, Wichita, Spokan, Walla Walla, Yuma. Rivers and lakes: Erie, Huron, Missouri.  Mountains and deserts: Apalachee, Teton, Mohave, Shasta. 

Questions people ask.

Q Was the meeting of English settlers and Native Americans at Plymouth Rock  the first encounter of those two cultures in what is now The United States of America?
A –  NO, there were many contacts, and failed settlements since 1492. There are other permanent European settlements: St. Augustine, Fla. 1565, and New Mexico, NM 1598, and Santa Fe, NM 1607. founded by Hispanic explorers.

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