Thanksgiving is a day of mourning for Native Americans

by David Bowers (

The US has recently celebrated another Thanksgiving day. A day when people feast on turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, yams (or sweet potatoes). For most common Americans who believe the official version of the story behind this holiday, that it is a day of friendship between the Native Americans and the white “Pilgrims” as they called themselves, it is a day when families get together and spend the entire day eating and gorging themselves on the beautiful foods that are native only to North America. However Thanksgiving has a darker bloodier history that is only remembered by Native Americans and very few others.  We have this report from David Bowers.

The American Indians, a marginalized section of American society, who are kept isolated and with little communication or contact with the outside world, are one of the darker skeletons in the closet of American society, and a country founded a little over 200 years ago, on the genocide of the Indian people and developed and founded on their blood and by the labor of black slaves, has many such skeletons.

Imagine if you will for a moment that Hitler had won World War II, unthinkable, but for the sake of argument picture that for a minute. The Nazis were responsible for the killing of, what may have been up to 40 million Russian and Soviet citizens, as records were sometimes impossible to keep at that time the exact number will never be known. Now imagine they had won and in 200 years we celebrated a day when the Nazis forced the Russians to bring them food, killed one of their leaders and raped their women and children, unthinkable again, but for the American Indians that is exactly what Thanksgiving is.

At the time records were not kept, unfortunately for the Indians the records they kept were by word of mouth, in the retelling of stories, or by other less dependable and primitive means or record keeping. They were by European standards, a primitive people, but they were also a peaceful and open people who time and again trusted the drunken outcasts of British society, who were in reality the true founders of the United States.

The records that were kept were mostly lost, and for good reason, but what is available paints a very different picture than what the US Government, founded by these same outcasts, would have us believe. During the period when the “Thanksgiving“ feast was to have occurred, the Europeans invaders were in the middle of one of the bloodiest campaigns of genocide that signaled the founding of the US. The atrocities meted out on the Indians reached legendary proportions, with killings, rape and mutilations being the norm, and as one story goes the Indians were invited to the feast in order for the whites to be able to kill one of the Indian chiefs, Wituwamat, who was wanted by Miles Standish and who was later beheaded and whose head was displayed on a stake in Plymouth for several years. According to Gary B. Nash, it was “a symbol of white power”. Standish had the Indian man's young brother hanged for good measure as well. From that time on, the whites were known to the Indians of Massachusetts by the name "Wotowquenange," which in their tongue meant cutthroats and stabbers.                  

Until around 1970, the 350th anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims, the official history of Thanksgiving was rarely challenged, having been founded in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln, the fairy tale existed in the American imagination untouched by the facts for more than a hundred years. In 1970, when the president of the Federated Indian League, Frank B. James, prepared a speech which exposed some of the crimes committed by the Pilgrims, including robbing the graves of the Wampanoags,  he was not allowed to give it. Instead, Massachusetts officials offered him another watered down speech in keeping with the official story.  Thousand of Indians protested and starting in 1970 Thanksgiving became a National Day of Mourning for the American Indian people. Frank B. James’ speech began like this:   

"We welcomed you, the white man, 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 free people."

Massachusetts officials of course refused to allow such a speech to be given, and although the officials wanted him to speak Frank James refused. On Thanksgiving Day 1970, hundreds of Indians from around the country came to protest, marking the first National Day of Mourning, a day to mark the genocide Native Americans suffered as the early settlers prospered. The true story of "Thanksgiving" is what whites did not want Mr. James to tell.

Another chief wanted by Standish was  Metacomet Captain Benjamin Church tracked down and murdered Metacomet in 1676, his body was quartered and parts were "left for the wolves." The great Indian chief's hands were cut off and sent to Boston and his head went to Plymouth, where it was set upon a pole on the real first "day of public Thanksgiving for the beginning of revenge upon the enemy." Metacomet's nine-year-old son was destined for execution because, the whites reasoned, the offspring of the devil must pay for the sins of their father. The child was instead shipped to the Caribbean to spend his life in slavery.

Thanksgiving is in fact a holiday that celebrates the fact the Indians were so easy to kill and conquer and that their lands were so easy to take. The Pilgrims were thankful to God for this and for that reason alone it was made it official holiday.