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Holidays: Thanksgiving TRUTH

Before the settlers came the Spanish. In the summer of 1526, five hundred Spaniards
and one hundred black slaves founded a town near South Carolina. In the fall, the slaves
rebelled, killed some of their masters, and escaped to the Native Americans. Only 150
Spaniards survived, and they ran way back to Haiti. The ex-slaves stayed behind. So the first
non-Native settlers in "the country we now know as the United States" were Africans. The
Dutch were also around in 1614; and in 1607 the London Company sent settlers to Virginia.
"The wonderful Plague among the savages " – King James [Thanks to
Almighty GOD]
From 1348 – 1350 the bubonic plague killed 30 percent of the population of Europe in
three years. The Indians, having no livestock but cleaner living conditions, never developed
immunity to this disease. Before the Europeans (and Black slaves) came to America, the
Native Americans were healthy. Howard Simpson (a journalist at the time) says they were "a
remarkable healthy race" before Columbus. In 1617, British fishermen brought the plague to
America. Within three years, the plague killed almost 95 percent of the natives.
Only "the 20th person is scarce left alive," - British eyewitness Robert
The natives that were still alive fled to other tribes, carrying the disease. The summer
after the Pilgrims landed, sent two envoys on a diplomatic mission to talk with Massasoit, a
famous Indian chief. When the envoys arrived, they saw that everyone in the village had died.
They reported thousands of skulls and dead bodies lying everywhere.

During the next 15 years, more epidemics (smallpox) struck many times. Of course many
Europeans got sick, but most recovered including, the "heavily pockmarked George
Washington." The English thought that this was an act of GOD. John Winthrop, Governor of
Massachusetts Bay Colony, called the plague "miraculous." Many Indians likewise said that
their God had abandoned them. Indian healers had no cure, their religion no explanation. Like
the earlier Europeans, many Indians started to drink or began to listen to Christianity. All this
meant that the British would have no real Indian challenge for their first 50 years in America.

The Pilgrims wanted to go to Virginia but they chose Massachusetts for Cape Cod's fine fishing;
and thanks to the "wonderful plague” there would be no real Indian challenge. Settlement
continued, not with God's help but with the Indians'. The Pilgrims chose Plymouth because of
its cleared fields and recently planted corn. It was a lovely site for a town. Of course, until the
plague, it was a town (Squanto's town). Everywhere in the west, Europeans pitched camp right
in the middle of native populations---Cuzco, Mexico City, Natchez, Chicago, etc. In New
England, colonists took Indian cornfields. That's why so many town names--Marshfield,
Springfield, Deerfield--end in "field".
"He was the sole member of his village still alive. All the others had
perished in the epidemic two years before." --Howard Simpson
The story of Squanto is a little different from the myth. When Squanto was a child, he
was “taken” to England by a British sea captain. He worked in Britain for about nine years until
a Plymouth merchant helped pay for his way home on the Mayflower. He stayed home in
Massachusetts for less than a year. Then, in 1614, a British slave raider took him and 24
others and sold them to Malaga, Spain as slaves. After that, Squanto escaped from slavery,
escaped from Spain, got back to England, and in 1619 talked a ship captain into taking him
along on his next trip to Massachusetts. Squanto walked to his home village and found out that
he was the last survivor of his people. Squanto had no choice but to go back to the pilgrims.
He showed them how to live and showed them his land which they later renamed Plymouth.
As for Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims did not introduce the Native Americans to the
tradition; Indians had fall harvest celebrations for hundreds of years. Today's celebrations date
back only to 1863; The Pilgrims weren't included until the 1890's. No one even called them
"Pilgrims" until the 1870s. There actually was a 'First' Thanksgiving in America, but it was
celebrated 30,000 years ago. So now, every last Thursday in November Americans celebrate
one of the oldest and most universal of human celebrations.

Truth or Myth
1. The Pilgrims were the first settlers in America. T / M

2. Squanto was a Native American that learned English while living in Britain. T / M

3. The European's advanced technology helped them survive in America. T / M

4. The Native Americans already celebrated Thanksgiving. T/ M

5. The Pilgrims came on ship called the Mayflower. T/ M

1. Do American schools teach children ALL the facts about Thanksgiving? Why (not)?

2. How do you think Native Americans feel about this?

3. Do you think schools in your country teach children the truth about history?