"Thanksgiving" question

kirsten neilsen kirsten at Infothecary.ORG
Sun Nov 21 08:43:12 PST 1999

Stephen E Philion asked:

>> Does anyone know if this is a true story or another one of those
>> myths being sent around the internet these days?

with the understanding that the british were murderous and craven, and that their reputations are not being defended here, i offer the following comments [in brackets]:

>>The year was 1637

[note that 1637 is 16 years after the "first" thanksgiving]

>>> .....700 men, women and children of the Pequot Tribe,
>>> gathered for their "Annual Green Corn Dance" in the area that is now
>>> known as Groton, Conn.

[i've never seen mention that the pequots were "gathered" for anything. rather, they seem to have been dispersed. of the two accounts i have in front of me, one suggests that the village attacked was the smaller, less well defended of two pequot strongholds/fortresses. the other account notes that a large portion of the tribe's warriors were on a foray.]

>>>While they were gathered in this place of meeting, they
>>>were surrounded and attacked by mercernaries of the English and

[they were in fact surrounded by the british and their native allies.]

>>> The Indians were ordered from the building and as they came forth,
>>> they were shot down. The rest were burned alive in the building.

[the village was attacked and burned, the inhabitants unceremoniously slaughtered]

>>> The next day, the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared
>>> : "A day of Thanksgiving," thanking God that they had eliminited
>>> over 700 Indian men, women and children.

[i have read, and tend to believe, that the governor declared a day of thanksgiving to celebrate this "victory".]

>>> For the next 100 years, every "Thanksgiving Day" ordained by a
>>> Governor or President was to honor that victory, thanking God that
>>> the battle had been won.

[this last, totally unsubstantiated statement is completely out of the blue. in any event, the record of behavior of the british and other colonists is horrific enough and doesn't need embelishment.

the book i have in front of me is francis jennings' _the invasion of america_; there are many others that provide details of this event, but jennings is particularly devastating because he quotes extensively from contemporary accounts. the chapter relevant to this discussion is called "we must burn them," a statement attributed to the captain of the troops by one of his men.]

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