The Indians walked over this land bridge from Asia into Alaska. As years passed, the Indians moved further south. After many years, different groups of Indians lived in all parts of North and South America. The first Europeans to come to Virginia met Indians.
The Iroquoian Indians
The old decayed dream of the peaceful coexistence between two equal and sovereign peoples had ended with the rejection of the Treaty of 1621.
The current Wampanoag have not forgotten.
Their population consists of several groups, sometimes called "tribes", who base their membership upon closely maintained kinship ties to the aboriginal communities. Supposedly there are approximately 4,000 Wampanoag, some living in the traditional homeland, some living where their jobs and lifestyles have taken them.
The two best known groups are those of Mashpee on Cape Cod and those of Gay Head (Aquinnah) on Martha's Vineyard, which is the only Wampanoag group recognized by the federal government. Other Wampanoag trace their ancestries from Herring Pond (Bourne), Fresh Pond (Plymouth), Watuppa or Troy (Fall River), Pokanoket (Bristol and Warren, R.I.), Chappaquiddick Island, Christiantown or Takemmy (West Tisbury) and other places.
Prior to the arrival of European invaders, the native population of North and South American was 100 million. The entire population of Europe at the time was 70 million. If colonists had not been able to take over lands that the Indians had already cleared and cultivated, and if the Indian population had not been devastated by disease, there might not have been any colonization at all.
By 1880, the Indian population was 250,000, a drop of 98 percent.
The Pilgrims knew well of these plagues.
"Thank you Almighty God in your great goodness and bounty towards us for sending this wonderful plague among the savages." –King James of
In 1623, the British indulged in the first use of chemical warfare in the colonies when negotiating a treaty with the tribes near the Potomac River, headed by Chiskiack. The British offered a toast ‘symbolizing eternal friendship,’ whereupon the chief, his family, advisors, and two hundred followers dropped dead of poison.
Historians, in their search for a story that told the mythical beginnings of American culture, chose to omit facts about the Pilgrims story rather than tell the truth of Virginia.
In Virginia, the British took the Native Americans prisoner and forced them to show the colonists how to farm.
Lies My Teacher Told Me
The most remarkable part of the story may be that the Pilgrims did not even introduce the tradition of Thanksgiving in America. It wasn't until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed it a national holiday. The fabricated story of the Pilgrims was not even included in the holiday until the 1890s.
The term "Pilgrim" was not even used until the 1870s.
The environmental and social devastation wrought by the European invaders of North America continues today. Oil company explorers, miners and loggers continue to introduce disease to the isolated indigenous cultures of South American and Southeast Asia.
The myth of Thanksgiving has created a false sense of self in Americans that has done great damage throughout the world. It has resulted in seeds of racial hatred and white superiority being planted in the minds of schoolchildren.
Perhaps I do not need to convince you that American history is important.
You might discover that the knowledge you gain has implications for your life today. If correctly learned, the issues of the era of the first Thanksgiving could help Americans grow more thoughtful and more tolerant, rather than more ethnocentric.
We can redefine Thanksgiving for ourselves and our family.
We can make it a day when we not only give thanks for the bounty we have received, but a day when we acknowledge the injustices that have been done and still are being perpetrated on so many people and animals in the world.
After feasting, you could choose a way for you and/or your families to help lessen the suffering of some creature somewhere in the world, animal or human.
We must remember these tragedies as we shape the new millennium.
With genetically engineered bacteria, crops and animals being created every day, are we risking a biological devastation like the Indians experienced.
We must examine how we are using this stolen gift of a nation.
As life support systems crumble and species become extinct every day, can we really say we have learned anything in the last 500 years?
We must take this day and remember these stories because they show what America has been about and have direct relevance to our present society.
We all can agree that it would be better not to know so many things than to know so many things that are not so. Those who don't remember the past are condemned to repeat the eleventh grade. So now we see that American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.In Rememberance - Brandy 1995 - 2010