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Thanks For Giving, Pilgrim

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Thanksgiving. We’re all familiar with the tale, a minor event in 1621 elevated to the level of propaganda and myth; the Pilgrims were to celebrate their traditional feast of the fall harvest when a group of Native People arrived to share their bounty with the hungry new arrivals.

This communal luncheon among two disparate ethnic groups became a national holiday in 1863, and thanks to the imaginations of a few illustrators at the turn of the century, we inherited a picture of peaceful coexistence among half-naked savages and Puritans dressed in goofy black hats.

The Pilgrims are often referred to as “The First Settlers,” which implies that Native Americans merely wandered aimlessly around the continent awaiting the arrival of a landlord. In fact, by the time the Mayflower arrived, these ‘native’ settlers had been ‘settled’ on the North American continent for thousands of years, but we rarely let facts get in the way of romantic titles.

Tradition holds that the Pilgrims were thankful for their families, their God, a successful harvest, and their continued survival. Their guests had plenty to be thankful for too, but this is rarely mentioned during Thanksgiving celebrations.

Gifts for the Natives:

1) Booze – Firewater was a great evolutionary step for Native Americans; it allowed them to experience religious ecstasy without having to resort to the inconvenience of fasting, vision quests, and magic. A wise, high-maintenance shaman is replaced by a non-union liquor store clerk. Progress = convenience.

(Another big advantage for booze: when compared to peyote, it tastes better and is less filling.)

2) Small Pox – Without this gift from generous White Man, the native population would have gone unchecked, encouraging overcrowding and the subsequent destruction of natural resources intended for use by others more experienced at urban development.

3) Professional Sports – Without this White European cultural phenomena, they would never have been immortalized by such teams as the Cleveland Indians, the Washington Redskins, and the Atlanta Braves. A side-effect is that thousands of white racists in Georgia now own foam-rubber tomahawks and know the melody of an ancient Native American pop song. (Hey-ah-hey-ah-hey)

5) Bingo – After the mass destruction of the American Bison, they had to find a replacement for the basis of their economy, and Bingo is not only lucrative, but is invulnerable to extinction and hunters armed with Sharpes rifles.

6) Bureau of Indian Affairs – Figuring that these people couldn’t begin to manage themselves, our forefathers had the insight to create a vast, unscrupulous bureaucracy which was certain to insure the “indians” continued survival in an overwhelming poverty that protected them from being exposed to the corruption, greed, and anxiety of Contemporary America. It’s for their own good.

7) Land Treaties – Having stolen their lands, White Man created pieces of paper which granted millions of acres back to the original owners… kinda; In a few quick gestures, Native People became acquainted with the currency and techniques of the American Way of Giving Somebody the Business. They were also taught a profound lesson which would serve them well in the future: Trust No One — especially white dudes and contractual promises from habitual liars and bloodthirsty thieves.

8) George Armstrong Custer – 500 years of frustration, persecution, and genocide were relieved one afternoon in 1876: on a large hillside known as Little Big Horn, Native Americans were finally able to experience a brief moment known as cultural stress release. White Americans were given a national hero they could identify with: an Insane Egotistical Loser.

255 years prior to Custer’s blunder — at that historic buffet in 1621– Chief Massasoit and his Wampanoag Tribe had no idea what abstract gifts were in store for them and their progeny: Dessert would be called “Manifest Destiny,” and like a Dominoes pizza or a Wal-Mart parking lot, it would soon be delivered to their savage, unadorned doorstep free of charge.

Had the Indians known what was on the cosmic menu that first Thanksgiving Day, they might have brought their hosts some hemlock tea — or at the very least — slaughtered them during their afternoon nap in front of their TV sets.

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About Mark Shark

  • Shark

    heh. A Thanksgiving classic.

  • JR

    Pretty much, yeah.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com dave nalle

    1621? The pilgrims didn’t arrive until 1622 and the legendary first thanksgiving wasn’t until the fall of 1623.

    dave

  • Nancy

    Alas, the indians would have done better to have poisoned them all. Well…they DID give us tobacco; I guess that’s partial payment for all that whites have done to them.

  • Anthony Grande

    The war between the Europeans and the Natives was well underway before the first Thanksgiving. At the first Thanksgiving two rival parties sat down and feasted together to symbolize PEACE.

    This is why we celebrate Thanksgiving. It symbolizes PEACE.

    “1) Booze – Firewater…”

    We gave them booze just like they gave us Marijuana and Cocaine. And they showed us how to use Marijuana and Cocaine also.

    “2) Small Pox”

    Although true, it wasn’t intentional.

    “3) Professional Sports”

    Are you serious? I thought that this argument was destroyed along time ago. The people who complain about the Atl Braves and the Clevaland Indians do not speak for the honored majority of Natives.

    You have no 4.

    5) I don’t really know about this one but it sounds like another talking point.

    “7) Land Treaties”

    Broken treaties was unfair by the whites, I agree. But they had to find away to move the natives West because they were a threat to backwoods farmers and settlers (raping women and children and scalping men).

    “8) George Armstrong Custer”

    They declared war on the whites first.

    Now Thanksgiving has nothing to do with what you are posting. Thanksgiving was when two warring peoples set aside their differences in a moment of PEACE.

  • gonzo marx

    argh…so much wrongness here…

    firstly…”Natives” are not some monolithic single entity…there were various Tribes and Nations involved with even the earliest settlers

    the Iroquois Nation didn’t really war with the settlers, but the Hurons certainly did…you just can’t lump all these different people into one category and then dismiss them with factual inaccuracy

    next…cocaine ( as in the coca plant) doesn’t grow in North America…and cocaine is chemically processed from the crystals that form on the underside of the leaves…you can thank 19th century chemists for cocaine, NOT native americans

    oh yes..marijuana grows in just about every corner of the globe….or did you think that europeans magically produced hemp rope prior to 1492?

    Ant G sez…
    *But they had to find away to move the natives West because they were a threat to backwoods farmers and settlers*

    ummm….could it be because those “settlers” just went and moved onto the lands held by the Nations/Tribes already living there? not to mention shooting folks that had bows and spears…

    the best one is Ant G saying…
    *”8) George Armstrong Custer”

    They declared war on the whites first.*

    now, considering Custer’s history of slaughtring villages of women, children and old people while the men were out of camp..this is really funny…

    Black Elk Speaks might be a good book for you to start with, since you are so woefully uneducated in matters concerning the native american peoples

    ya think he will listen?

    nah…

    but i can Dream, can’t i?

    Excelsior!

  • Upright Simian

    and let us not forget that most of the indian fighting and frontier opening was done by the scotts-irish, themselves a primitive and violent tribal people specifically imported to america for that purpose.

  • Anthony Grande

    “the Iroquois Nation didn’t really war with the settlers, but the Hurons certainly did…you just can’t lump all these different people into one category and then dismiss them with…

    Why the Hell are you talking about the Iroquois Nation? It was the WAMPANOG who ate with the Pilgrims, not the Iroquois.

    You do know you Squanto is, right? Well he was captured and enslaved by the white man. His tried was destroyed by the diseases the white man carried and that the natives didn’t have immunities for.

    Now you do realize that the Indians were the ones who fired first on the very first settlers of North America (not including Spanish Florida)?

    Most of the tribes were just too hard to coexist with. Which is why there were many broken treaties and removal of Indians.

    The Cherokee Nation and the Trail of Tears was a different story. The Cherokees were trying to intergrate into our lifestyle when the 1st Democratic President, Andrew Jackson, forced their removal into the wilderness.

    And why do you think Custer led that crusade against the Indians?

  • Dan

    “Had the Indians known what was on the cosmic menu that first Thanksgiving Day, they might have brought their hosts some hemlock tea — or at the very least — slaughtered them during their afternoon nap in front of their TV sets.”

    Jamestown massacre anyone? 347 men, women, and children? March 22, 1622? Maybe they were upset ’cause the Cowboys won 17-10.

  • Bennett

    Gonzo – nope.

    And yeah you kin dream.

  • Bennett

    Where ya been Shark?

    xoxoxox!

  • Anthony Grande

    And they also gave pale face tobacco.

  • Dan

    “(Another big advantage for booze: when compared to peyote, it tastes better and is less filling.)”

    Actually, the peyote “religous experience” comes after vomiting. Vomiting is not very filling.

    Come to think of it though, booze can produce vomiting as well. so… nevermind.

  • Dan

    “Small Pox – Without this gift from generous White Man, the native population would have gone unchecked,…”

    Those cheap assed indians, they recieved Small Pox, and all they gave in return was syphillus.

  • Anthony Grande

    I believe that it is wrong to blame the pale face for the small pox mass wipeout because they did not do it intentionally.

    That is like blaming our AIDS problem on gays.

  • Shark

    Today — Anthony Grande — satirists everywhere are giving thanks for the likes of you.

    PS: Put a history book on your xmas wish list — one with lots of pretty pictures. (?)

  • Shark

    Dave Nalle, re your confusion on the historic dates:

    you also believe the Pilgrims arrived in three ships called the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria — so why should we trust you on history questions?!

    PS: 1620 = Pilgrims arrival
    1621 = peace treaty signed with Massasoit

    You’re welcome.

  • troll

    US OUT OF NORTH AMERICA – !

    troll

  • Dan

    “I believe that it is wrong to blame the pale face for the small pox mass wipeout because they did not do it intentionally.

    That is like blaming our AIDS problem on gays.”

    Hee hee, good one Anthony.

    I kind of wonder if a myth of nobility would be assigned to the minutemen were they to go in to an illegal mexican immigrant enclave and slaughter 347 men women and children.

  • Anthony Grande

    “Put a history book on your xmas wish list — one with lots of pretty pictures.”

    On several of them. Reading history is one of my hobbies, thanks.

    Dan, what are getting at? Minutemen killing illegals?

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com Silas Kain

    Imagine. Those damn native Americans were called savages by the palefaces because they were not Christians. They also gave us tobacco and what did paleface do? He raised it, cultivated it with slave labor and made it a staple cash crop of the fledgling American economy. Like it or not, the settlers of the New World created this country on the backs of Native Americans, slave labor and tobacco. What a duplicitous people we are.

    P.S. Can I have a pretty historical picture book, too? Maybe one I can color in with my Crayola 64 pack?

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Silas, that’s not duplicitous, that’s enterprising. No one said we weren’t going to come here, dispossess the naitves, rape the land, grow poison and get rich. We did it and we did it openly and with pride.

    To quote an early governorr of Virginia: “Indians do but run over the grass, as do also the foxes and wild beasts…so it is lawful now to take land, which none useth, and make use of it.”

    Utility trumps precedence.

    Dave

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com Silas Kain

    Can you put all that in coloring book form for our younger commenters to use?

  • Dan

    “Dan, what are getting at? Minutemen killing illegals?”

    Anthony, your apt juxtapositioning of AIDS and Smallpox in comment #15 inspired me to juxtapose the slaughter of innocent “illegal immigrants” by Indian savages at Jamestown (and myriad other places) with a hypothetical slaughter by minutemen of “illegal aliens” today. Think the revisionists would be touting the virtues of the minutemen “natives”? (rhetorical)

    Don’t be snowed by revisionists “coloring books”. If self-flagellating palefaces would like to atone for perceived historical injustices, they are free to offer themselves up as human sacrifices to Huitzilopochtli.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com Silas Kain

    My Dad and I got into a heavy discussion about the slaughter of Native Americans. He pointed out that no great civilization is built without the sacrifice of many. In that context, he’s right. It has been the art of war and all its residual effects that have built the greatest civilizations on Earth. On paper it’s nice to have peace but that’s not who we have practiced as a species. It’s survival of the fittest from plankton to whales with humans in between. With age comes wisdom and his counsel was stop thinking about what got us here and worry about what to do to make it better.

  • Bennett

    Your father is indeed wise, but I’m sure he’d be the first to tell you “Do not suffer the little children, those who in their ignorance cast half-truths and outright lies onto the screens of blogcritics.”

    Or some such.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com Silas Kain

    Wise words spoken, Bennett. My Dad was ahead of his time. He grew up in a single parent household during the depression when my widowed Grandmother had 10 children. He was only 10 months old when his father died. That was an opportunity when I look back on it because what he went through during his childhood caused him to insure that we could tough it out during the worst of times. We’ve been taught to be self-sufficient as far back as I can remember. We had to know how to cook, launder, mend clothes and keep an orderly house. At the time it was done under a lot of protest but I see now that he was correct. We may not have had much growing up but amidst the tears and hardship there was a lot of love and as the MasterCard commercial goes, that’s priceless!

  • Anthony Grande

    “They also gave us tobacco and what did paleface do? He raised it, cultivated it with slave labor and made it a staple cash crop of the fledgling American economy. Like it or not, the settlers of the New World created this country on the backs of Native Americans, slave labor and tobacco. What a duplicitous people we are.”

    That was some very terrible stuff that took us a long time to overcome. But there is still one thing that we must overcome, abortion. Slave labor was barbaric, but at least it helped rise our country above all others. There is no “at least” for abortion.

  • Bennett

    Unable to stay on topic, AG? You are wrong of course, but this isn’t the thread to debate your nonsense. But this:

    “Slave labor was barbaric, but at least it helped rise our country above all others.”

    That is so sophomoric and hideously wrong that it serves as a perfect example of the state of your reasoning processes.

    Slave labor, the war that was fought to end it, the racial division and hatred caused by it, and the lingering effects of disenfranchisement and discrimination, most certainly DID NOT raise our country up, let alone “above all others”.

    Almost everything you write points out your lack of education, and your willingness to spout nonsense to back your blind prejudice and lack of intellectual depth.

    Carry on.

  • troll

    Bennett – reading your personal attack was like taking a breath of fresh air…most of BC reads like its looking over its shoulder these days

    ciao and good luck with the reigning editorial regime

    troll

  • Bennett

    Aw, Troll, it wasn’t personal. Just precise.

    Thanks!

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com Silas Kain

    Precise, honest and totally backed up by hundreds of posts frought with errors and lack of substance. Talk about nocturnal omissions. Bennett, you are hereby saluted!

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    And can I be the one to point out that abortion raises up every potential teen mother who can graduate high school, go to college and get a good job instead of raising a baby on welfare.

    Dave

  • Anthony Grande

    Bennett, slave labor was terrible and God brought many bad things our way for doing allowing it but it did help us rise as a colony and then a country. We supplied the world with tobbacco then cotton for God sakes! Do you think a few white settlers would have been able to supply the world?

    And as for your point about changing the subject,

    the subject has already been changed. This thread isn’t even about slavery. And look at Dave Nalle, he is trying to bring it back to abortion!

    Hypocrite

  • George Perez

    This webpage is awesome! I agree 100%!!

    It’s a shame the Native American people couldn’t have some form of “Homeland Security” against European terrorism!

    Hey Paleface! Where’s your greencard?! Don’t have one? We have to deport you back to Europe!

    No Thanksgiving for all Pilgrims!

  • George Perez

    For those persons who say whites didn’t intentionally give the Natives smallpox:

    Yes, whites DID intentionally give many Natives
    smallpox.

    There were instances where Native tribes were given blankets knowingly infected with smallpox.

    This was done to intentionally infect those Natives that had not been exposed to disgusting and dirty European diseases.

    This is true.

  • Jenkins

    “Native Americans” aka Indians are and were nothing more than mindless savages. We exterminate vermin on a daily basis in this country. I fail to see your problem. So some vermin were exterminated, big deal? This is a better country for it.

  • STM

    A few years ago, a group of Australian aborigines travelled to England, landed on a beach, planted the Aboriginal flag and claimed it on behalf of their people.

    The English were bemused, to say the least. But it does make one think about what the white man has done over the years and the morality of it all.

    Stop the handwringing, though: just enjoy your turkey, America. Nothing better than a holiday long weekend to clear the cobwebs away.

    And if you’d not declared your independence all those years ago, you’d have an extra one, like us: The Queen’s birthday long weekend.

  • STM

    Oh, and I’d just like to say that it’s lovely to read Jenkins’ voice of reason and tolerance in the post above.

  • http://Bezel Bezel

    This world would be a better place without the white man. If only THEY had been exterminated. What a vile cancer you and your people are, Jenkins. I hope that you live to see your loved ones die in agony.

  • armand0

    wtf is wrong with u sick freaks. both of u r messed up. this is a time of love u should not be hating u should be sharing a dinner with ur family an being thankful for the good in ur life. aparently there is no good in either of ur lives if u feel that way about others.

  • Dan

    George Perez #36: “There were instances where Native tribes were given blankets knowingly infected with smallpox.

    This was done to intentionally infect those Natives that had not been exposed to disgusting and dirty European diseases.

    This is true.”

    Nah, this has been debunked as the lunatic ravings of Ward Churchill. Churchill’s habitual research misconduct led the Chancellor to recommend dismisal from his tenured post at Colorado U.

    If you want to look for truth, look first at which direction the lies are going.

  • http://thoughtprovoked.com Aurel Montgomery

    Ya know, it really shouldn’t be about how it all started. Most of the holidays we celebrate today, were started as pagan rituals.

    Yes, our history is not perfect, yes, horrible things have happened in the past. That’s not the point.

    The point is can we learn from them?

    Is it wrong to teach kindergartners about peace and getting along with different races? About being thankful for the things we have. I don’t beleive so.

    So, yes..tomorrow I will gather with my family, eat turkey till I’m sick, and celebrate a holiday that may not have perfect beginnings. But I’ll also chose to celebrate in the spirit of the holiday. I will give thanks. For what I have, for those who have gone before me and made what I have possible, and for those who continue to do so today.

    The world is not a perfect place. It never will be. Kudos for giving voice to your opinions and thinking of those who may have been mistreated. Now, what are we, your faithful readers supposed to do to change that? It is in the past. We respect it…but we also go on celebrating Thanksgiving, because we have things to be thankful for, we want that mythical peace and we look for ways to make that happen today. Where the world is still in crisis.

    Happy Thanksgiving to All and Thank God for Blogcritics and free speech ;-)

  • Jeremy

    The pilgrims are considered the first settlers from the perspective of Europeans. Umm…. yeah. America and the Native Americans were discovered from the perspective of the Europeans as well. Saying that the Native Americans waited around for a landlord is silly. Yes, they were there first. Nobody from EUROPE knew they existed. Hence the DISCOVERY for Europeans.

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