The Year is 1621, the winds of the winter months are barreling down on the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians.
But through the young wet snow, and the winds of father time would not dampen the spirits. As they shared in their first autumn feast.
That first winter that the new colonists from the Mayflower was brutal, with many staying onboard the ship and survived bouts of exposure, scurvy and other contagious diseases. When the winds of March creaked at the masses upon the once mighty ship, they were met by an Abenaki Indian. After greetings and goodwill, the native left only to return a few days later with Squanto, who would teach the new settlers how to farm the land, fish the brooks, and tap the maple trees while avoiding the poisonous plants. Squanto would also assist the new settlers in forging a treaty with the local Wampanoag that would last more than fifty years.
In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”—although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time—the festival lasted for three days.
Many of the dishes were likely prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods, because the Pilgrims had no oven and the Mayflower’s sugar supply had dwindled by the fall of 1621. The meal did not feature pies, cakes or other desserts, which have become a hallmark of contemporary celebrations.
That first day of giving thanks for the settlers was their prayers of a good harvest, good friends and a new home. The same festival for the Native Americans was their opportunity to build a relationship with the pale skins, while giving thanks to the howling winds, and winters Gods they believed in.
Throughout the years the giving of thanks and sharing the feast with good friends, loved family members, and neighbors alike to celebrate in the good fortunes of their previous twelve months. As God has so blessed America with the blessings of freedom, courage, conviction, and abundance, let us give thanks to God for a year of safe return to thousands of overseas American military, the new child or grandchild that has brought hope for a better tomorrow, and the belief in our Constitution and the promise of a better unified, caring, understanding and prosperous 2017.
America through her Constitution has promised all men, women and children, whether you are a first in a long line to come as a legal immigrant, or a native born American, not bound by any fences towards race, religion, creed or nationality that the hopes and prayers of the once mighty American dream will once again be the virgin first snow of a winter solstice, or the first crack in the ice of a spring thaw. May the crackling of the open flames upon the hearth of a brick fireplace bring the sparkles of hope to a country yearning for the opportunity to be more successful than their parents, but less successful than their children.
To young and old alike, as you plan your festival of stuffed turkey, baked potatoes, yams, cranberry sauce, and the drippings of a most wondrous gravy bring you back to America, and all the greatness she offers to you today, and the opportunity for those who may not yet share in that opportunity see the future brighter, and stronger throughout the season…Tags: America Native Americans opportunity settlers thanksgiving