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Richard Greener_ the True Story of Thanksgiving

Richard Greener_ the True Story of Thanksgiving

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Published by Stack A. Brown
El Thanksgiving es una "bonita" historia para entretener el pensamiento de bondad del común de norteamericanos. Pero la verdad es muy diferente.
El Thanksgiving es una "bonita" historia para entretener el pensamiento de bondad del común de norteamericanos. Pero la verdad es muy diferente.

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Published by: Stack A. Brown on Apr 04, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/20/12 RichardGreener: TheTrueStory Of Thanksgiving 1/3www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-greener/the-true-story-of-thanksg_b_788436.html
huffingtonpost.com
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-greener/the-true-story-of-thanksg_b_788436.html
The True Story Of Thanksgiving
The idea of the American Thanksgiving feast is a fairly recent fiction. The idyllic partnership of 17th Century European Pilgrims and New England Indians sharing a celebratory meal appears to be less than 120 years-old. And it was only after the First World War that a version of such aPuritan-Indian partnership took hold in elementary schools across the American landscape. Wecan thank the invention of textbooks and their mass purchase by public schools for embedding this"Thanksgiving" image in our modern minds. It was, of course, a complete invention, a cleverly created slice of cultural propaganda, just another in a long line of inspired nationalistic myths.The first Thanksgiving Day did occur in the year 1637, but it was nothing like our Thanksgivingtoday. On that day the Massachusetts Colony Governor, John Winthrop, proclaimed such a"Thanksgiving" to celebrate the safe return of a band of heavily armed hunters, all colonial volunteers. They had just returned from their journey to what is now Mystic, Connecticut wherethey massacred 700 Pequot Indians. Seven hundred Indians - men, women and children - allmurdered.This day is still remembered today, 373 years later. No, it's been long forgotten by white people, by European Christians. But it is still fresh in the mind of many Indians. A group callingthemselves the United American Indians of New England meet each year at Plymouth Rock onCole's Hill for what they say is a Day of Mourning. They gather at the feet of a stature of Chief Massasoit of the Wampanoag to remember the long gone Pequot. They do not call it Thanksgiving.There is no football game afterward.How then did our modern, festive Thanksgiving come to be? It began with the greatest of misunderstandings, a true clash of cultural values and fundamental principles. What are wethankful for if not - being here, living on this land, surviving and prospering? But in ourthankfulness might we have overlooked something? Look what happened to the original residents who lived in the area of New York we have come to call Brooklyn. A group of them calledCanarsees obligingly, perhaps even eagerly, accepted various pieces of pretty colored junk fromthe Dutchman Peter Minuet in 1626. These trinkets have long since been estimated to be worth nomore than 60 Dutch guilders at the time - $24 dollars in modern American money. In exchange,the Canarsees "gave" Peter Minuet the island of Manhattan. What did they care? They were livingin Brooklyn.Of course, all things - especially commercial transactions - need to be viewed in perspective. The
 
11/20/12 RichardGreener: TheTrueStory Of Thanksgiving 2/3www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-greener/the-true-story-of-thanksg_b_788436.html
nearly two-dozen tribes of Native Americans living in the New York area in those days had adistinctly non-European concept of territorial rights. They were strangers to the idea of "realproperty." It was common for one tribe to grant permission to another to hunt and fish nearby themselves on a regular basis. Fences, real and imagined, were not a part of their culture.Naturally, it was polite to ask before setting up operations too close to where others lived, butrefusal in matters of this sort was considered rude. As a sign of gratitude, small trinkets wereusually offered by the tribe seeking temporary admission and cheerfully accepted by those already there. It was clearly understood to be a sort of short-term rental arrangement. Sad to say, theunfortunate Canarsees apparently had no idea the Dutch meant to settle in. Worse yet for them, itmust have been unthinkable that they would also be unwelcome in Manhattan after their deal.One thing we can be sure of. Their equivalent of today's buyer's remorse brought the Canarseesnothing but grief, humiliation and violence.Many Indians lived on Long Island in those days. Another Dutchman, Adrian Block, was the firstEuropean to come upon them in 1619. Block was also eager to introduce European commercialismand the Christian concept of "real estate" to these unfortunate innocents. Without exception, theseIndians too came out on the short end in their dealings with the Dutch.The market savvy unleashed by the Europeans upon the Indians constituted the first land usepolicies in the New World. In the 17th Century it was not urban but rather rural renewal. Theresult was of course the same. People of color with no money to speak of got booted out and theneighborhood which was subsequently gentrified and overrun by white people.Not far from Manhattan, one tribe of about 10,000 Indians lived peacefully in a lovely spot on apeninsula directly along the ocean. There they fished in the open sea and inland bay. They huntedacross the pristine shoreline and they were quite happy until they met a man - another Dutchman- named Willem Kieft. He was the Governor of New Netherland in 1639. These poor bastards werecalled the Rechaweygh (pronounced Rockaway). Soon after meeting Governor Kieft, they becamethe very first of New York's homeless.The people of New Netherland had a lot in common with the people of Plymouth Colony. At least itappears so from the way both of these groups of displaced and dissatisfied Europeans interacted with the local Indians. The Pilgrims in Plymouth had a hard time for the first couple of years. While nature was no friend, their troubles were mostly their own doing. Poor planning was theirdownfall. These mostly city dwelling Europeans failed to include among them persons with theskills needed in settling the North American wilderness. Having reached the forests and fields of Massachusetts they turned out to be pathetic hunters and incompetent butchers. With gameeverywhere, they went hungry. First, they couldn't catch and kill it. Then they couldn't cut it up,prepare it, preserve it and create a storehouse for those days when fresh supplies would run low.

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