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'Great Forgeting' the true story of Thanksgiving

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posted on Nov, 23 2007 @ 04:39 PM
This is a very sensitive story sent by a family member to me today. I could feel the story as it unfolded which to me speaks of truth. It is a long read but well worth the 10 minutes it will take for you to read. Happy Thanksgiving, and may we always remember and in so take the right steps toward denial of ignorance.

The Great Forgetting
By Eunice Wong, Oct 5, 2007

The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, located on the Mall in Washington, D.C., is a monument to historical amnesia. The blond limestone building, surrounded by indigenous crops of corn, tobacco and squash, invites visitors on a guilt-free, theme park tour of Native American history, where acknowledgment of the American genocide is in extremely bad taste.

The beauty of the architecture and landscaping conceals the hollowness of the enterprise. The first two floors of the four-story building are turned over to gift shops and the cafeteria. The museum provides no information on the forced death marches, authorized by Congress, such as the Trail of Tears, the repeated treaty violations by the United States, reservations, infamous massacres such as Wounded Knee, or leaders such as Tatanka Iyotanka (Sitting Bull), Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekht (Chief Joseph), Tashunka Witko (Crazy Horse), or Goyathlay (Geronimo).

"If it does not talk about massive land theft—3 billion acres of stolen land in the continental United States; if it does not talk about broken treaties—over 400 treaties violated by the United States government and its European American citizenry; if it does not talk about genocide—16 million native peoples wiped out by the United States and its citizenry; if it does not talk about residential Christian boarding schools, about the suppression of our language, our religion, and on and on and on and on, it is literally a whitewashed history," said Dr. Chris Mato Nunpa of the Dakota Nation, professor and head of the Indigenous Nations and Dakota Studies Program at Southwest Minnesota State University. "And then they get our colonized, Christianized Indian colleagues to tell the same story that has been told by the European Americans for generations."

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[edit on 24/11/2007 by Mirthful Me]

posted on Nov, 23 2007 @ 04:47 PM
Although I am Cherokee, Choctaw, this is a beautiful Thanksgiving prayer by a Mohegan. I can relate to these ageless words.

Thanksgiving Prayer from the Mohawk Nation

~*~ The People ~*~

Today we have gathered and we see that the cycles of life continue. We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living things. So now, we bring our minds together as one as we give greetings and thanks to each other as People.

Now our minds are one.

~*~ The Earth Mother ~*~

We are all thankful to our Mother, the Earth, for she gives us all that we need for life. She supports our feet as we walk about upon her. It gives us joy that she continues to care for us as she has from the beginning of time. To our Mother, we send greetings and thanks.

Now our minds are one

~*~ The Waters ~*~

We give thanks to all the Waters of the world for quenching our thirst and providing us with strength. Water is life. We know its power in many forms-- waterfalls and rain, mists and streams, rivers and oceans. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the spirit Water.

Now our minds are one.

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[edit on 24/11/2007 by Mirthful Me]

posted on Nov, 23 2007 @ 05:04 PM
Thank you for reading to this point, and in my final installation of this beautiful E-Mail I have saved the best for last. Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving


The Conflicted History of Thanksgiving

Much as I love this holiday, much as I am entranced by its esoteric meaning, as an Interfaith Minister and student of comparative mythology, this holiday, as celebrated in the United States and Canada, always makes my head spin. The history of this holiday inevitably brings up humbling and difficult associations for me, because I cannot forget or ignore the shortcomings of our ancestors, much as I honor them.

According to the conventional story, strong, righteous English Puritans arrived at a wilderness in the New World . They brought what was considered to be a superior civilization and most important, their Christian values, to a thankless, scattered group of itinerant savages, and received turkeys, pumpkins, squash, corn and cranberry sauce in return. Beneath the mainstream celebration commemorating their arrival, a millenial clash of cultures and conflicting mythologies creates a kind of cognitive dissonance that manifests for me in conflicting emotions of joy and mourning, thanksgiving and repentance.

As I sit at home with Jane, cocooned in isolation from the larger community, I join in a virtual commons of like-minded, passive viewers watching a media spectacle with a very demanding subtext.

The towering air-filled balloons march through Midtown Manhattan across my TV screen, filling my living room, as we munch on breakfast and sip on hot sugary caffeinated liquids while we participate in a nationwide homage to the omnipresence of the brand icons of Madison Avenue, a celebration of consumer culture and its ability to mesmerize children, of all ages, with pastel kitsch cartoon characters emoting warm and fuzzy sentimentality that jerks the heartstrings while imprinting a series of corporate logos in the brains of viewers everywhere.

There is a subtext, and that is that the imagination will be subordinated to the advertising message, that Friday the entire nation of 200,000,000 will awaken as one, with a druggy food hangover, climb in our SUVs and race to the shopping malls to begin a marathon orgy of compulsive spending and acquisition, which will climax on or about the festival commemorating the birthday of Jesus Christ.

Throughout this schizophrenic “holiday season”, our excessive spending and overconsumption of food, drink and electronic media are implied to be a gargantuan love offering to the Divine and, simultaneously, a concrete expression of the gratitude we all feel to our cultural forbears and an affirmation of the rampant materialism of our consumer culture.

America’s current cultural mythology of social Darwinism holds that competition among individuals to enrich themselves at the expense of others and the commons is the God-given right and the moral duty of all God-fearing Americans, and will result in a Divinely ordered society, with the most deserving individuals conspicuous by virtue of their wealth and 10,000 square foot McMansions, and the least deserving individuals marked with the unmistakable stigmata of their moral failure, apparent to all in their lack of material possessions.

There are two excellent antidotes to this pervasive cultural poison. The first is historical awareness and the second is spiritual practice. The two really go hand in hand.

Let us begin at the beginning. More or less. As best as we are able.

In the 1600s in England , a civil war was brewing between the traditional society and the adherents of a revolutionary, fundamentalist Protestant sect called the Puritans. At that time the Church of England was the official state-approved religion and Catholic and other Protestant priests and preachers had to operate as kind of spiritual undergound, subject to harassment of all kinds.

King Charles ruled supreme, and Parliament was an advisory body with few powers, called to meetings upon such occasions as the King determined appropriate.

The Puritans believed they were the few righteous saints in a society of corrupt sinners, burdened excessively by the rapacious parasitism of King, nobility and court-approved clergy, and that only by forcing their own religious beliefs on their less spiritually evolved neighbors using fire and sword could the nation be saved.

Puritans expected Armageddon – the Apocalypse foretold in the more metaphorical chapters of the Bible – to come momentarily, resulting in the destruction of Europe , and hence of all civilization.

This Puritan vision of Armageddon involved, as Armageddon always has, the necessity for the faithful to wage a holy war against all unbelievers. This holy war would, first of all, overthrow the decadent elite that ran England, including parliament, King and priests, and second, impose a severe rule of autocratic but divinely guided cleric-warriors upon the sinful populace, driving Satan from their breasts through the use of panoptic espionage in every village and town, forced confession, and purgation through the salutary example of public torture and execution, as appropriate.

The Puritans believed that the saints would be blessed by God with every social advantage, especially wealth, since they were industrious believers in the free market as well as devout Christians. They further believed that individuals who failed to create sufficient wealth to feed their families and themselves through competitive enterprise were inherently sinful, self-evidently guilty of moral failure, and should be punished by confinement to debtor prisons and other “tough love” institutions where reprogramming of their defective nervous systems could proceed unhindered by false notions of “charity”, “compassion”, “noblesse oblige” and “social welfare”.

Some of those Pilgrims who migrated to America lacked the surety of faith that would have enabled them to believe in the historical inevitability of the English Puritan Revolution, and some of them doubtless saw themselves as God’s Crusaders, spreading the Word of God and a New Social Order to a New, Godless and heathen world, which must be conquered for the greater glory of God, as part of the Apocalyptic War between Good and Evil.

After a series of Civil Wars, starting in 1639, the Puritans did overthrow the King of England in 1649, in a bloody revolution led by the Puritan leader Oliver Cromwell. Around ten percent of the total population of England , Ireland and Scotland died during these apocalyptic battles.

The reformist political projects of the Puritan victors were set aside in the aftermath of these civil wars, and Cromwell ruled as a military dictator until his death. His son was considered unfit by the Army, which constituted the true ruling class of England at that point, and chaos threatened until 1661, when Charles’ son, Charles II, was restored to the throne, with the consent of Parliament.

No longer able to rule as a Sovereign without peers, Charles II found the country set on a course to become a parliamentary democracy that practiced a determined form of religious tolerance.

Meanwhile, in the New World , the Puritans were also involved in another flavor of Armageddon. In America , in states where they gained power, Puritans made sure there were no illusions of religious freedom. The just rule of iron and fire was thought to guarantee a salutary social uniformity that would be pleasing to the stern and vengeful patriarch in heaven.

When the Pilgrim colonists arrived in New England , landing at Plymouth Rock in 1620, the area was the home of the Wampanoag Indians, members of a widespread Confederacy of Algonkian speaking peoples known as the League of the Delaware . For over one hundred years, the Wampanoag had defended themselves against sporadic incursions by European slave traders, trappers and soldiers, so they were familiar with the predatory nature of the white colonizers.

In Massachusetts , in 1620, Puritan colonists signed the Mayflower Compact, which bound all signatories to the letter and the law of early Christian practice, Puritan practice, and banished Catholic and Episcopalian ritual and observances. All males who wished to live in the colony had to sign the Compact. Later Puritan dissenters, including Roger Williams, who founded the Baptist Church, and Anne Hutchinson, a prominent Puritan gentlewoman who held that matters of faith were private affairs between each individual and God, were banished from the colony.

It was the Catholics, who had brought the world the original practice of enlightenment through torture exemplified in the Inquisition, who introduced the American Colonies to the principle of religious tolerance, which was a matter of law in the Catholic colony of Maryland .

In 1636 Roger Williams established a new colony in Rhode Island , where all true believing Protestants could participate in civil government, though not, of course, the Godless Catholic idolators.

The Wampanoag continued their traditional way of life during this period, migrating from place to place as the seasons unfolded. In the spring, the Indians would pitch their wigwams near rivers, fishing for herring and salmon. In planting season they moved to the forest, where they could hunt deer. In winter they moved inland for protection from the inclement weather, and lived on stores of food gathered earlier in the year.

Gratitude was an integral part of everyday life for the Wampanoag Indians, not something to be ritually celebrated once a year. As historian and public school teacher Chuck Larsen, who has Quebeque French, Metis, Ojibwa, and Iroquois ancestors puts it in his article on Thanksgiving, “These Indians of the Eastern Woodlands called the turtle, the deer and the fish their brothers. They respected the forest and everything in it as equals. Whenever a hunter made a kill, he was careful to leave behind some bones or meat as a spiritual offering, to help other animals survive. Not to do so would be considered greedy. The Wampanoags also treated each other with respect. Any visitor to a Wampanoag home was provided with a share of whatever food the family had, even if the supply was low. This same courtesy was extended to the Pilgrims when they met.”

Larsen continues:

“We can only guess what the Wampanoags must have thought when they first saw the strange ships of the Pilgrims arriving on their shores. But their custom was to help visitors, and they treated the newcomers with courtesy. It was mainly because of their kindness that the Pilgrims survived at all. The wheat the Pilgrims had brought with them to plant would not grow in the rocky soil. They needed to learn new ways for a new world, and the man who came to help them was called ‘Tisquantum’ (Tis SKWAN tum) or ‘Squanto (SKWAN toe).

“Squanto was originally from the village of Patuxet (Pa TUK et) and a member of the Pokanokit Wampanoag nation. Patuxet once stood on the exact site where the Pilgrims built Plymouth . In 1605, fifteen years before the Pilgrims came, Squanto went to England with a friendly English explorer named John Weymouth. He had many adventures and learned to speak English. Squanto came back to New England with Captain Weymouth. Later Squanto was captured by a British slaver who raided the village and sold Squanto to the Spanish in the Caribbean Islands . A Spanish Franciscan priest befriended Squanto and helped him to get to Spain and later on a ship to England . Squanto then found Captain Weymouth , who paid his way back to his homeland. In England Squanto met Samoset of the Wabanake (Wab NAH key) Tribe, who had also left his native home with an English explorer. They both returned together to Patuxet in 1620. When they arrived, the village was deserted and there were skeletons everywhere. Everyone in the village had died from an illness the English slavers had left behind. Squanto and Samoset went to stay with a neighboring village of Wampanoags .

“One year later, in the spring, Squanto and Samoset were hunting along the beach near Patuxet. They were startled to see people from England in their deserted village. For several days, they stayed nearby observing the newcomers. Finally they decided to approach them. Samoset walked into the village and said ‘welcome,’ Squanto soon joined him. The Pilgrims were very surprised to meet two Indians who spoke English.

“The Pilgrims were not in good condition. They were living in dirt-covered shelters, there was a shortage of food, and nearly half of them had died during the winter. They obviously needed help and the two men were a welcome sight. Squanto, who probably knew more English than any other Indian in North America at that time, decided to stay with the Pilgrims for the next few months and teach them how to survive in this new place. He brought them deer meat and beaver skins. He taught them how to cultivate corn and other new vegetables and how to build Indian-style houses. He pointed out poisonous plants and showed how other plants could be used as medicine. He explained how to dig and cook clams, how to get sap from the maple trees, use fish for fertilizer, and dozens of other skills needed for their survival.

“By the time fall arrived things were going much better for the Pilgrims, thanks to the help they had received. The corn they planted had grown well. There was enough food to last the winter. They were living comfortably in their Indian-style wigwams and had also managed to build one European-style building out of squared logs. This was their church. They were now in better health, and they knew more about surviving in this new land. The Pilgrims decided to have a thanksgiving feast to celebrate their good fortune. They had observed thanksgiving feasts in November as religious obligations in England for many years before coming to the New World .

“The Algonkian tribes held six thanksgiving festivals during the year. The beginning of the Algonkian year was marked by the Maple Dance which gave thanks to the Creator for the maple tree and its syrup. This ceremony occurred when the weather was warm enough for the sap to run in the maple trees, sometimes as early as February. Second was the planting feast, where the seeds were blessed. The strawberry festival was next, celebrating the first fruits of the season. Summer brought the green corn festival to give thanks for the ripening corn. In late fall, the harvest festival gave thanks for the food they had grown. Mid-winter was the last ceremony of the old year. When the Indians sat down to the ‘first Thanksgiving’ with the Pilgrims, it was really the fifth thanksgiving of the year for them!

“Captain Miles Standish, the leader of the Pilgrims, invited Squanto, Samoset, Massasoit (the leader of the Wampanoags), and their immediate families to join them for a celebration, but they had no idea how big Indian families could be. As the Thanksgiving feast began, the Pilgrims were overwhelmed at the large turnout of ninety relatives that Squanto and Samoset brought with them. The Pilgrims were not prepared to feed a gathering of people that large for three days. Seeing this, Massasoit gave orders to his men within the first hour of his arrival to go home and get more food. Thus it happened that the Indians supplied the majority of the food: Five deer, many wild turkeys, fish, beans, squash, corn soup, corn bread, and berries. Captain Standish sat at one end of a long table and the Clan Chief Massasoit sat at the other end. For the first time the Wampanoag people were sitting at a table to eat instead of on mats or furs spread on the ground. The Indian women sat together with the Indian men to eat. The Pilgrim women, however, stood quietly behind the table and waited until after their men had eaten, since that was their custom.

“For three days the Wampanoags feasted with the Pilgrims. It was a special time of friendship between two very different groups of people. A peace and friendship agreement was made between Massasoit and Miles Standish giving the Pilgrims the clearing in the forest where the old Patuxet village once stood to build their new town of Plymouth .

[The 1621 feast the Wampanoag gave the Pilgrims Indians was not the official first Thanksgiving. That title goes to a 1637 celebration, proclaimed “Thanksgiving” by Governor Winthrop, an event honoring those who participated in the massacre of the 700-800 Pequot Indians in Connecticut ]

Larsen continues, “It would be very good to say that this friendship lasted a long time; but, unfortunately, that was not to be. More English people came to America , and they were not in need of help from the Indians as were the original Pilgrims. Many of the newcomers forgot the help the Indians had given them. Mistrust started to grow and the friendship weakened. The Pilgrims started telling their Indian neighbors that their Indian religion and Indian customs were wrong. The Pilgrims displayed an intolerance toward the Indian religion similar to the intolerance displayed toward the less popular religions in Europe . The relationship deteriorated and within a few years the children of the people who ate together at the first Thanksgiving were killing one another in what came to be called King Phillip's War.

“At the end of that conflict most of the New England Indians were either exterminated or refugees among the French in Canada , or they were sold into slavery in the Carolinas by the Puritans. So successful was this early trade in Indian slaves that several Puritan ship owners in Boston began the practice of raiding the Ivory Coast of Africa for black slaves to sell to the proprietary colonies of the South, thus founding the American-based slave trade.

On June 20, 1676 - following the victory over King Philip and his people - the council of Charlestown , Massachusetts unanimously voted to proclaim June 29 as a day of celebration and Thanksgiving. The following statement was read:

"The Holy God having by a long and Continual Series of his Afflictive dispensations in and by the present Warr with the Heathen Natives of this land, written and brought to pass bitter things against his own Covenant people in this wilderness, yet so that we evidently discern that in the midst of his judgments he hath remembered mercy, having remembered his Footstool in the day of his sore displeasure against us for our sins, with many singular Intimations of his Fatherly Compassion, and regard; reserving many of our Towns from Desolation Threatened, and attempted by the Enemy, and giving us especially of late with many of our Confederates many signal Advantages against them, without such Disadvantage to ourselves as formerly we have been sensible of, if it be the Lord's mercy that we are not consumed, It certainly bespeaks our positive Thankfulness, when our Enemies are in any measure disappointed or destroyed; and fearing the Lord should take notice under so many Intimations of his returning mercy, we should be found an Insensible people, as not standing before Him with Thanksgiving, as well as lading him with our Complaints in the time of pressing Afflictions.”

Larsen continues, “It is sad to think that this happened, but it is important to understand all of the story and not just the happy part. Today the town of Plymouth Rock has a Thanksgiving ceremony each year in remembrance of the first Thanksgiving. There are still Wampanoag people living in Massachusetts . In 1970, they asked one of them to speak at the ceremony to mark the 350th anniversary of the Pilgrim's arrival. Here is part of what was said:

"Today is a time of celebrating for you -- a time of looking back to the first days of white people in America . But it is not a time of celebrating for me. It is with a heavy heart that I look back upon what happened to my People. When the Pilgrims arrived, we, the Wampanoags, welcomed them with open arms, little knowing that it was the beginning of the end. That before 50 years were to pass, the Wampanoag would no longer be a tribe. That we and other Indians living near the settlers would be killed by their guns or dead from diseases that we caught from them. Let us always remember, the Indian is and was just as human as the white people.

“Although our way of life is almost gone, we, the Wampanoags, still walk the lands of Massachusetts . What has happened cannot be changed. But today we work toward a better America , a more Indian America where people and nature once again are important."

“Our contemporary mix of myth and history about the ‘First’ Thanksgiving at Plymouth developed in the 1890s and early 1900s. Our country was desperately trying to pull together its many diverse peoples into a common national identity. To many writers and educators at the end of the last century and the beginning of this one, this also meant having a common national history. This was the era of the ‘melting pot’ theory of social progress, and public education was a major tool for social unity. It was with this in mind that the federal government declared the last Thursday in November as the legal holiday of Thanksgiving in 1898.

“In consequence, what started as an inspirational bit of New England folklore, soon grew into the full-fledged American Thanksgiving we now know. It emerged complete with stereotyped Indians and stereotyped Whites, incomplete history, and a mythical significance as our ‘First Thanksgiving’.”

posted on Nov, 23 2007 @ 05:05 PM
I am not sure I should even speak.

Murder, death and destruction. Nice.

But, has anyone found a "perfect" nation/country? The United States is the only nation on the planet to commit such heinous acts? Every and I mean every nation on the planet has at some point done things that come back to haunt them for all time. When is enough, enough? How long does one have to suffer for the sins of their fathers, fathers, father? Should we just give it all back? Nothing belongs to anyone, except maybe mother earth herself.

So we call spin the wheel and pick a time period and pick a country and get up on our soap boxes and rant about the wrongs commited on them and their people. 400 and 500 years later, you think people would move on. Notice, I did not say 'forget", I just said move on. Why is this so hard. Things change. Progress or whatever you want to call it, stops for pretty much no one. Bloody histories are everywhere.

Another problem I have is that the author of this peice eludes that the United States has done NOTHING for the world and that it is all an illusion, our "goodness" I mean. An illusion? It is just as said in the piece history. I can not change the past but I can honestly say I have no problem facing myself.

This is nothing against the OP, it is just I am tired of others trying to make me feel guilt over something that I did not have anything to do with. It is a time to be thankful for whatever you choose to be thankful for. It is one day, every year, where I try to focus on the good in the world and leave the bad for the other 364 days.

Just my feelings. Have at me.

posted on Nov, 23 2007 @ 05:16 PM
reply to post by bobafett1972

I can relate to your words and feel much the same way. Actually I have always 'thought' the same way. I also will not forget the past and its horrible truths, all I am saying here is that if we do not see and I mean really see the past we will continue to bring the same mistakes into our futures and those of our children. I sincerely hope that you will take the time to read the history at the bottom of this thread in the 3rd part of the OP.

For some reason as I read the last part it reminded me of the present. Is there a deeper connection to the New World and the NWO? They have much of the same earmarks and I for one can see the similarities.

Again thankyou for your comments, I do agree with you.

posted on Nov, 24 2007 @ 04:32 PM
Nice post
I'd like to see the school systems across america do a better job of teaching history. I agree with some of the op and I think if people actually had the chance to learn both sides of a story and not a cookie cutter picture that is widely distributed we could finally learn and move on. I think what gets most people frustrated is that history is sometimes glossed over and nothing of value is understood except names, dates and small facts.

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