Editorial: Wampanoags helped the Pilgrims survive
"The American Indians originally celebrated what has become Thanksgiving as a harvest festival long before Europe’s emigrants first landed upon the shores of North America.

When the Pilgrims of the Mayflower landed in December 1620 near Pahtuksut, now current day Plymouth, Mass., these European immigrants were ill-prepared for the reality of New World. Many of these Pilgrim immigrants did not survive this first winter.

The Wampanoag Indians of eastern Massachusetts played a role in helping and teaching the Pilgrims how to survive in this new land. The Wampanoag taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate the land. In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims along with about 90 Wampanoag Indians, including their chief, Massasoit, celebrated the fall harvest. This three-day celebration was the first Thanksgiving.

The Wampanoag Indians were nearly exterminated during King Phillips War in the late 1670s, and the survivors killed, sold into slavery or escaped to other tribes. Yet the tribe endured and re-organized as the Wampanoag Nation in 1928, with nearly 3,000 members today.

Today, some American Indians consider Thanksgiving a day of mourning for their culture and people."

Get the Story:
Editorial: It is time for us all to give our thanks (The West Central Tribune 11/25)