by Irwin Ozborne
November 25, 2016
Celebrating all that we have,
and the genocide it took to get
Thanksgiving is one of the most
paradoxical times of the year.
We gather together with friends and
family in celebration of all that we are thankful for and express
our gratitude, at the same time we are encouraged to eat in excess.
But the irony really starts the next day
on Black Friday. On Thursday we appreciate all the simple things in
life, such as having a meal, a roof over our head, and the
connection with those close to us.
But in less than 24 hours, we literally
trample over others in a mad dash to accumulate as many material
possessions as possible at bargain-prices.
So what is the true history of Thanksgiving?
Well, just like we have stories of
Easter in which a magical bunny hops around the world and hides
baskets of goodies for us to find, or stories of Christmas where
Santa Claus travels the globe in one night to leave presents under
the tree for good boys and girls - Thanksgiving, too, has its
traditional myth which we share with our children.
We recount stories of the Indians and
Pilgrims getting together for a magical feast of brotherly love and
appreciation. The only problem is that, unlike the other holidays,
we never reveal the truth about Thanksgiving to our children as they
grow older. In fact, most of us donít understand its bloody history
The first actual proclaimed "Day of Thanksgiving" came in 1637 in a
meeting between the Pequot Indians and English religious
mercenaries. The Pequot were celebrating their annual Green Harvest
Festival, which resembles modern-day Thanksgiving.
On the eve of the festival, the English
demanded that everyone comes out of their homes, puts their weapons
on the ground, and surrenders by converting to Christianity.
Those who obliged with these terroristic demands were either shot
dead or clubbed to death. Those who stayed inside their longhouses -
including women and children - were burnt to death. In all, more
than 700 Pequot men, women, and children were slaughtered that day.
The "victory" was celebrated by the Governor of Massachusetts Bay
Colony holding a feast and trumpeted this as a "Day of
During the celebration, they cut off
heads of Natives and put them on display publicly; including
beheading the Wampanoag Chief and impaling his head on a pole in
Plymouth which stayed on display for the next 24 years.
The myth that
still dominates the holiday.
New Family Values
I was in third grade and playing in my back yard, when I noticed a
moving truck in the parking lot beyond the fence. We lived in a
middle-class suburban community, but right beyond our fenced in
yard, there was a Section 8 Housing Community.
As I stood and watched, a young boy around my age came running over
to the fence to greet me.
"Hi, My Name is Doug," he said, "We
are moving in next door."
Itís funny as kids, we are so free and
we see someone our age and we just want to be friends.
Someone we can spend time with. This
shows the natural desire of human connection. Doug and I became
pretty good friends instantly. We spent time at each otherís house
often, mostly playing Nintendo or throwing the ball around in the
Until one day, one of my favorite video games was missing. No idea
what happened, but the game was gone.
We always had anywhere from three to 10
people over at our house and there is no way of knowing what
happened to the game or if it was simply misplaced.
"No more going over to that Indianís
house," my Dad told me, "He took your game."
Indian? Whatís an Indian?
I remember thinking that to myself. To
me, Doug was just my friend. Now, just like that, he was my
Indian-friend. I knew very little about other races at that time.
Sure, we saw that people looked different, but never attached a
label like that.
The only thing I knew about Indians, I learned in school. And the
things I learned in school, was just being passed down from what our
teacherís learned in school with no adjustments to the curriculum.
We learned how to sit "Indian-Style," we learned how to sing "Ten
Little Indians," learned what it meant to be called an
"Indian-Giver," and we learned to play "Cowboys and Indians."
I can honestly remember in First or Second grade around
Thanksgiving, we made headdresses and colored feathers to dress up
Then they told us how to do war-cries by
putting your hand over your mouth and yelling,
They instructed the class that the
Pilgrims came over from Europe to escape religious persecution.
Upon arriving in America, they realized
that there were already people living here. The brave Europeans
encountered the Indians, who wore headdresses, make weird noises,
and were uncivilized. So, the
Pilgrims decided to help them out and they had a giant feast
together. Everyone got along and then for every year since then, we
celebrate Thanksgiving. But, Doug didnít do any of those things. I
never met an Indian, he was just a normal kid.
But, I was told not to trust him.
The irony of a white person not trusting
an Indian is too much to even comprehend.
"Doug, do you have my video game?" I
asked him, "And, I am not allowed to come over here anymore and
you canít come over to my house."
"No, I donít have it. Why would I take it? You always let me use
it whenever I want," he replied, "But I understand. I wonít come
As the next couple years went by, I
start seeing more movies with Cowboys and Indians with the natives
viewed as hostile savages and the cowboys save the country.
I am now in fifth grade and have been
trained and brainwashed to hate a race of people and believe that I
am good and they are wrong.
And, still no one has given me an answer
as to what happened to all the Indians that lived here?
Then, I gained perspective from the oddest of sources - the comedy
movie, "Addams Family Values." In the movie, the children were at
some type of summer camp in which they are putting on a play for
their parents, reenacting the first Thanksgiving.
All the rich-white privileged kids at
the camp were playing the role of the wholesome pilgrims; whereas,
the outcasts of the camp were stuck playing the part of the
As the pilgrims invited the Indians for
a meal together, Wednesday Addams - playing the role of Pocahontas
(although this is historically inaccurate as Pocahontas lived near
the Jamestown Settlement) - decides to go off the script just prior
to sitting down for the meal:
"Wait, we can not break bread with
you. You have taken the land which is rightfully ours.
Years from now my people will be
forced to live in mobile homes on reservations. Your people will
wear cardigans, and drink highballs. We will sell our bracelets
by the road sides, and you will play golf. My people will have
pain and degradation.
Your people will have stick shifts.
The gods of my tribe have spoken. They said do not trust the
pilgrims. And especially do not trust Sarah Miller. For all
these reasons I have decided to scalp you and burn your village
to the ground."
[view scene in below video]
I remember watching this scene and my
friends were laughing hysterically, but not me. I was more in shock
and awe. It all made sense. I realized that everything I had been
told about history was a lie.
And I have been searching for the truth
A National Day
We are very impressionable as children and take what elders,
parents, and teachers tell us as fact.
It gets very difficult to break these
thoughts that shape our identity. However, the story of Thanksgiving
described above has only a small semblance of truth. The Pilgrims
and Indians got together for a giant feast - one time.
And in all recorded history of that
time, there are actually only two documents of record reporting this
event, over the total of three paragraphs - indicating the very
minor significant of this event.
Thanksgiving Day is also known as The National Day of Mourning among
Native American Tribes. In 1970, there was a huge celebration in
Massachussets to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the landing of
Today, there are still Wampanoags living
in the area.
On the day of the celebration, they
asked one of them to speak:
"Today is a time of celebrating for
you - a time of looking back to the first days of white people
But it is not a time of celebrating
for me. It is with a heavy heart that I look back upon what
happened to my People. When the Pilgrims arrived, we, the
Wampanoags, welcomed them with open arms, little knowing that it
was the beginning of the end.
That before 50 years were to pass,
the Wampanoag would no longer be a tribe.
That we and other Indians living
near the settlers would be killed by their guns or dead from
diseases that we caught from them. Let us always remember, the
Indian is and was just as human as the white people.
Although our way of life is almost gone, we, the Wampanoags,
still walk the lands of Massachusetts. What has happened cannot
But today we work toward a better
America, a more Indian America where people and nature once
again are important."
Day of Mourning plaque
The Lies of
To get started, the Pilgrims were not seeking religious persecution
- they already had that in Holland by 1608.
However, they did not like the work and
demands of Holland and wanted to seek commercial ventures overseas.
However the Pilgrims also had no money or resources, so they had to
borrow a loan from the Virginia Company of London and Plymouth.
The agreement stated that they were to
take all the money earned over the first seven years and put it into
a common stock - sounds like Communism.
So, the communist Pilgrims sailed across the sea in September of
1620. Yet, it is also important to note that they did not call
themselves Pilgrims. They were originally referred to as Separatists
as they no longer followed the Church of England.
Yet, they referred to themselves as
Godís Chosen People, in which they called themselves "Saints."
The rest of England, considered them "religious dropouts."
The Pilgrims were also not farmers, nor woodsmen; they were mostly
city people and artisans that had no clue how to survive in the
Wilderness. It would be like if a group of broke-hipsters decided to
move to a remote jungle in South America to start their own
civilization because they do not fit in with mainstream society.
Yet, they donít have money, so they take
out a loan from the government to set up their little expedition.
They were not just being persecuted for religious beliefs either,
they were revolutionaries who intended - and in fact, did in 1649 -
overthrow the English Government.
On November 20, 1620, they landed at Cape Cod - not Plymouth Rock. A
winter storm had sent them off-course and they were many miles north
of their destination in Virginia. They landed in a desolated area in
which the Patuxet used to live - but were completely wiped away by
disease in 1617.
The Pilgrims raided the land for corn,
beans, and robbed the gravesites at Corn Hill to steal as much
winter provisions as they could handle.
It wasnít until another month later that they landed at Plymouth
Rock. In which, the crew was decimated and the settlers were either
dead or dying from starvation, malnutrition and disease. Only 53 of
the remaining 102 members of this ship made it through the winter.
In March, they were greeted by two
English-Speaking Indians - Samoset and Squanto.
While this tale seems miraculous, in fact Plymouth Governor Bradford
referred to Squanto as "a special instrument sent from God."
However, it was not that simple.
Squanto had been captured in 1605 and sold into slavery in England,
in which he was forced to learn English. Then they sent him back to
America, only to serve as a guide for the explorers to further
ravage his land. In 1614, he was captured again and shipped to
This time "rescued" by friars who tried
to control the slaves and convert them
He jump-shipped again and made his way
back to his homeland in 1619, only to see that every member of his
tribe had perished to disease. Hence, Squanto was the last living
Patuxet and was forced to live with the nearby Wampanoag.
This is the man that helped the Pilgrims survive - enslaved twice,
forced to learn English, attempted to be forced to convert to
Christianity, then to return home and find everyone he loved was
If it were not for Squanto, all
historians agree that the Pilgrims would have starved to death and
had quite a different impact on American history.
As Governor Bradford explained:
"Squanto continued with them and was
their interpreter and was a special instrument sent of God
for their good beyond their expectation.
He directed them how to set their
corn, where to take fish, and to procure other commodities, and
was also their pilot to bring them to unknown places for their
profit, and never let them till he died."
The Pilgrims were living in dirt-covered
shelters, had no food, and nearly half of them had died during the
They obviously needed help and the two
men were a welcome sight. Squanto, who probably knew more English
than any other Indian in North America at that time, decided to stay
with the Pilgrims for the next few months and teach them how to
survive in this new place.
Squanto had orchestrated a treaty between the Pilgrims and Indians
to protect each other from neighboring tribes.
By Fall of 1621, things had greatly improved for the Pilgrims. They
put together a feast to celebrate their harvest - a common custom of
the day in all parts of the world. This was celebrated back in
Europe for many years, as well as the local tribes had six different
"Thanksgiving" feasts throughout the year.
As they Pilgrims were shooting their guns in the air - likely with a
mixture of the hefty amounts of alcohol they consumed - they were
met by ninety or more Wampanoags. As the story goes, they invited
the Indians to join them. However, it is more likely that the
Indians rushed over to see what all the gunfire was about and then
were asked to join.
They had a three-day feast, in which the
Indians provided the majority of the food.
This was never called "Thanksgiving" and it was not the beginning of
some beautiful friendship, in which they all lived happily ever
after. In fact, it never happened again. This was the first, and
only, time that they got together in peace.
The true "First Thanksgiving" was a much
bloodier hell on Earth which tells the tale of the next 400 years
for the Native Americans.
It is hard to tell the true intention of the first Pilgrims at
Plymouth as they were severely outnumbered and had no means of
survival in the New World.
Once word was spread about the Paradise
out West, more and more religious zealots, known as Puritans, came
sweeping across the shores of America.
Once they arrived, they noticed no fences around the land and
considered it all to be public domain. They were not in as great
need of help from the Natives, as the original Pilgrims, and the
friendship between the two weakened rapidly. Soon, the Pilgrims were
demeaning the Indians for their religious beliefs and the children
of those who shared this majestic meal together were killing each
other in the next generationís King Phillipís War.
That is the foundation of Americaís idea of "freedom." We want
freedom for ourselves, but not for those who do not look, think,
act, and believe as we do.
In the Declaration of Independence it is
stated that "All Men Are Created Equal" but each of the founding
fathers were slave-owners who valued white supremacy and favored
They didnít want equality, they just
wanted equality from the British, but the oppression they did to
African-Americans, Indians, and Women was completely acceptable.
The Pilgrims were religious bigots who saw themselves as the "chosen
elect" and first planned to purify themselves and then anyone who
did not accept their interpretation of scripture. They believed they
were fighting a holy war against Satan.
In a "Thanksgiving" sermon in 1623,
Maher the Elder gave special thanks for destroying,
"chiefly young men and children, the
very seeds of increase, thus cleaning the forests to make way
for a better growth."
Yes, thanking the Lord for
giving smallpox to the same Wampanoag that saved them from
starvation two years prior.
In 1637, as stated in the opening paragraphs of this article, the
first Thanksgiving was held to celebrate the systematic slaughtering
of the "heathen savages." These killings become more and more, as
the settlers went from village to village wiping out generations of
tribes. With each "victory" they would hold days of thanksgiving
feasts for each successful massacre.
During the next century, the Tribes continued to get pushed further
The likes of Lord Jeffrey Amherst
intentionally gave smallpox-infested blankets to tribes in the early
forms of biological warfare. Whereas, the 1756 Indian Scalp Act paid
out bounties for the scalps of Indian men, women, and children.
This continued up through the French-Indian War in which the British
defeated the Indian-French allies; but proclaimed that the settlers
can not go West of the Appalachian Mountains - not because they grew
a heart for the Indians Ėbut because it would be too hard to manage
the settlers which would soon revolt against the Kingdom.
Even during the Revolutionary War, there were Days of Thanksgiving
honored after a victory against the British.
Until George Washington suggested
that there is only one day of Thanksgiving set aside per year,
rather than after each massacre.
The "Most Free
Country on Earth"
After being declared a "free country," the savagery continued.
President Andrew Jackson issued
the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which forced the Natives west to
Oklahoma. The Cherokee removal from Tennessee became known as the
infamous "Trail of Tears" in which Cherokee were slain in front of
family members if they did not oblige.
As the land continued to be stolen, the Native Americans set up
reservations. This land was not GIVEN to the Native Americans, it is
land that THEY reserved for themselves that could not be taken from
However, as we find out that did not
seem to matter as the United States has broken every treaty ever
signed with a Native American tribe.
Itís also important to understand that the government does not just
hand out money "because they are Indians." They are given money that
is owed to them due to the treaties signed by the United States to
purchase their land, and they settlements due to breaking every
single treaty ever signed.
It is not just a charity hand-out, it is
part of a guilty plea.
However, false propaganda and poor educational curriculum like to
inform the mainstream that we "gave the Indians reservations" and
"pay them money." This ignorance is a direct result of America not
teaching their children what a treaty actually entails, or why it
was signed in the first place.
In 1851, the Sioux made two treaties in which they were to be
compensated with cash, food, and goods to give up over one-million
acres of land to the United States, while living on the reservation.
However, there were corrupt leaders in
the Bureau of Indian Affairs who refused payments and gave goods out
to white settlers instead.
Once Minnesota became a state, Chief
Little Crow took his grievances to Washington - in return, the
United States took half of the land back from the Sioux and opened
it up for white expansion.
Each year the situation got worse, until the summer of 1862 in which
the Sioux were literally starving in these unlivable situations.
This is referred to in history as the "Sioux Uprising."
They were "uprising" because you were
starving them to death because of lies and broken promises.
One day a group went off the reservation hunting and stole some eggs
from white settlers and eventually murdered them. The authorities in
Minnesota then rounded up 303 Sioux, many of which were not involved
in the uprising, and sentenced them to be hung to death.
The Great Emancipator, President
Abraham Lincoln issued the largest mass-killing in American
history with the hanging of 38 Santee Sioux in Mankato, Minnesota.
He reduced the number to 38 in fear that European nations may take
the side of the South in the Civil War and exchange he promised
Minnesota to kill or remove any Indians from Minnesota and pay $2
million in settlement - he only owed the Sioux$1.4 million for the
One year later, Congress expunged all Sioux treaties from the
records, took back their reserved land and ordered the entire tribe
to be expelled from Minnesota.
As an incentive, a bounty of $25 was
offered for the scalp of any Sioux found living in the state. In the
same year, President Lincoln decided that Thanksgiving should be a
During this time, the Wild-Wild West included the likes of Custer
going from camp-to-camp killing Indian women, men, and children for
sport. They would burn, rape, and mutilate entire villages and were
celebrated in the news as heroes.
This includes his raid of the sleeping
Cheyenne and their peace Chief Black Kettle, despite his
previous surrender to the military and willingness to live on the
In 1890, on the Pine Ridge Reservation the Natives were practicing
ghost dances, in which the military was called in and turned a
peaceful dance into a massacre with another 300 dead at the hands of
"The people who are citizens of the
U.S., these are your treaties. They arenít just the Indiansí
treaties. No one gave us anything. No one was dragging any land
behind them when they came here. This was our landÖ
As native American peoples in this
red corner of Mother Earth, we have no reason to celebrate an
invasion that caused the demise of so many of our people, and is
still causing destruction today."
Suzan Shown Harjo
The Morning Star Institute,
a national Native American rights
As the Sioux Wars ended, and it wasnít as easy to deliberately kill
the Indians, the Americans needed a new way to carry out genocide.
They introduced the Boarding School
System in 1890. This was United States Government policy that they
could show up at your doorstep, take away your infants and toddlers
and ship them to boarding schools hundreds of miles away. Your
children were no longer yours.
At these schools they were banned to speak native languages, mocked
their traditions and cultures, cut their hair, made them look
American, as well as physically, emotionally, and sexually abused on
a daily basis.
Some children would never see their
Or if they did, they had become
engaged in a cultural assimilation campaign,
forcing thousands of
Native American children
It was a systematic eradicating of a race of people, they looked
Indian but they were Americanizing them. Every Indian today is a
product of this boarding school system. It peaked in the 1970s and
carried into the 21st century.
In the 1950s, the United States then wanted to "re-civilize" the
Indians and invited them to live back in the city. The problem is
they had no money, education, or skills, and could not find work.
Most of them ended up homeless or in
There are volumes and volumes of dissertations written on this
information listed above and it is difficult to condense it to less
than a couple thousand words. (I encourage you to do you own
But in reading through the horrors,
atrocities, genocide, and institutionalized racism enacted against
the indigenous people, what is quite clear is that the label of
Ďsavagesí is on the wrong end.
Our societyís practice of "might is right", consumerism,
competition, separation and judgment is the opposite of how humans
were designed to live. We were meant to live in harmony with each
other and respect our fellow man.
These ideas and values had already been
in place for many years, but have been since removed by an advanced
military society, but a primitive spiritual one.
"When your people came to our land,
it was not with open arms, but with Bibles and guns and disease.
You took our land. You killed us with your guns and disease,
then had the arrogance to call us godless savages.
If there is a Heaven and it is
filled with Christians, than Hell is the place for me."
Primitive spirituality and genocidal
practices over the past four-hundred years have resulted in nearly
100 million deaths of indigenous people - making the Europeans the
true primitive savages.
Before the European invasion of the
Americas, there were believed to be as many as 80-100 million native
people occupying what is now the United States.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, only
5.2 million people in the U.S. identified as American Indian and
Alaskan Native, either wholly or in part, and out of this total only
2.9 million people identified as solely American Indian or Alaska
At the time of European invasion, at
least 300 different languages were spoken in addition to numerous
The natives of the Americas were not
only "living lightly on the land", as is so often claimed, but were
engaged in landscaping, building and agriculture, trade and
commerce, in addition to sustainable hunting and gathering, and of
course, ancient cultural and earth-based spiritual practices - much
of which has now been decimated.
Christopher Columbus first
landed in the Americas, ho entered an occupied land with force to
subjugate and exterminate the civilizations that had existed for at
least 30,000 years (some estimates are as high as 200,000 years), a
trend that continued for several hundred years.
And although he and the colonists that
arrived in the years to follow have become icons of our national
mythology, the result has been mass assimilation, raping,
slaughtering, enslaving, and intention to wipe out all evidence of a
native population of between 50 and 100 million indigenous people
from the land - the greatest genocide in recorded history.
But, one day out of the year, we are able to give thanks and show
gratitude as part of the traditional celebration to honor
a bloody massacre...