Thanksgiving wishes

Published: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 10:05 AM.

What is little understood, but is explained by Nathaniel Philbrick in his fascinating book “Mayflower” is that while there might have been a feast of some kind on a date sometime near the end of the Pilgrims’ first year in the New World, it was a product of a bond of community formed between people of different color, religion and outlook on life.

Thanksgiving, and they did not know it as that and it would become a holiday only centuries later than that 1620’s sit down, was for the Pilgrims something that was played out over more than 24 hours.

The previous winter their very existence was in the balance. The Native Americans could have easily killed them, just as the weather and disease depleted their ranks.

Instead, those Native Americans would teach the newcomers about the land they had arrived at, about hunting, fishing and farming.

They taught the Pilgrims survival and stewardship of the land.

In turn, instead of choosing arrogant isolationism in their new quarters, the Pilgrims reached out to the Native Americans, establishing a bartering system, sleeping in their wigwams, choosing to learn, coming to understand these were just human beings.

Only later, when, what else, territory became an issue, did tension and ultimately bloodshed come to those first Anglo-Saxon arrivals and those there to greet them.

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