A Better Way To Celebrate Thanksgiving Now

By Neenah Payne

In 1621, colonists and the Wampanoag shared a ‘feast’, viewed as the first Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is now one of the most popular holidays in America. More people travel to be with family for Thanksgiving than for any other holiday. Many Americans look forward to the terrific foods — especially the turkey. It’s a “feel good” holiday because we are told it commemorates the “First Thanksgiving” which the Pilgrims shared with Native Americans.

However, Why We Must Be Honest This Thanksgiving explains that the story we are told about Thanksgiving Day fails to acknowledge that it is a Day of Mourning for many Native Americans. Isn’t it odd that Americans celebrate “collaboration” with Native America only one day a year — one which ignores the real history of that holiday — and ignore the existence of the 500 Native Nations for the rest of the year? What’s missing in this story and why is it so important for us to know the truth now?

This strange disconnect makes sense when you understand that Thanksgiving Day is the consolidation of the celebrations of massacres of Native Americans!  Growing Calls To Repudiate “Doctrine of Discovery” shows that Thanksgiving Day — like Columbus Day — is based on a Papal Bull in 1493 that encouraged Europeans to commit genocide in the Americas and to steal the continent. Pope Francis has been asked to rescind the doctrine, but has not yet done so. Fortunately, a number of churches have renounced it.

The Doctrine of Discovery encouraged Europeans to genocide the Americas and to steal the hemisphere. So, we used to celebrate the “discovery” (theft) of the Americas on Columbus Day. However, in 2021 Biden became the first president to commemorate Indigenous Peoples’ Day. In November, we are unwittingly encouraged to celebrate the slaughter of the millions of peoples who lived here for tens of thousands of years — some in civilizations more advanced than those in Europe. In this way, we are encouraged to celebrate the murder of the peoples who gave Europeans their understanding of political, economic, and religious freedom which inspired the US Constitution.

However, we now have a choice as a growing number of Americans reject Thanksgiving Day. We can instead celebrate Transformation Day as discussed further below. This may be out best hope to avoid both the World Economic Forum’s plans for The Great Reset and the Sixth Mass Extinction.  We can use this holiday to learn from these wise ancient civilizations that are still here and willing to help humanity.

Why More Americans Reject Thanksgiving Day Now

Thanksgiving History Timeline
Rethinking Thanksgiving 2021
These Celebrities Publicly Denounce Thanksgiving For Multiple Reasons

The Real Story of Thanksgiving: Story of a Massacre 1637

The Real Story of Thanksgiving

The Real Story of Thanksgiving

In 1637, near present day Groton, Connecticut, over 700 men, women and children of the Pequot Tribe had gathered for their annual Green Corn Festival which is our Thanksgiving celebration. In the predawn hours, the sleeping Indians were surrounded by English and Dutch mercenaries who ordered them to come outside. Those who came out were shot or clubbed to death while the terrified women and children who huddled inside the longhouse were burned alive.

The next day, the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared “A Day of Thanksgiving” because 700 unarmed men, women, and children had been murdered. Cheered by their “victory”, the brave colonists and their Indian allies attacked village after village. Women and children over 14 were sold into slavery while the rest were murdered. Boats loaded with as many as 500 slaves regularly left the ports of New England. Bounties were paid for Indian scalps to encourage as many deaths as possible.

Following an especially successful raid against the Pequot in what is now Stamford, Connecticut, the churches announced a second day of “thanksgiving” to celebrate victory over the heathen savages. During the feasting, the hacked off heads of Natives were kicked through the streets like soccer balls. Even the friendly Wampanoag did not escape the madness. Their chief was beheaded, and his head impaled on a pole in Plymouth, Massachusetts — where it remained on display for 24 years.  The killings became more and more frenzied, with days of thanksgiving feasts being held after each successful massacre.

George Washington finally suggested that only one day of Thanksgiving per year be set aside instead of celebrating each and every massacre. Later Abraham Lincoln decreed Thanksgiving Day to be a legal national holiday during the Civil War — on the same day he ordered troops to march against the starving Sioux in Minnesota.

Four hundred years of Wampanoag history

The Invention of Thanksgiving

Massacres, myths, and the making of the great November holiday.

In the story that many generations of Americans grew up hearing, there were no Wampanoags until the Pilgrims encountered them. If Thanksgiving has had no continuous existence across the centuries, however, the Wampanoag people have. Today, they make up two federally recognized tribes, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head, and they descend from a confederation of groups that stretched across large areas of Massachusetts, including Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket….

We falsely remember a Thanksgiving of intercultural harmony. Perhaps we should recall instead how English settlers cheated, abused, killed, and eventually drove Wampanoags into a conflict, known as King Philip’s War, that exploded across the region in 1675 and 1676 and that was one of the most devastating wars in the history of North American settlement. Native soldiers attacked fifty-two towns in New England, destroyed seventeen of them, and killed a substantial portion of the settler population. The region also lost as much as forty per cent of its Native population…

The Thanksgiving story buries the major cause of King Philip’s War—the relentless seizure of Indian land. It also covers up the consequence. The war split Wampanoags, as well as every other Native group, and ended with indigenous resistance broken, and the colonists giving thanks. Like most Colonial wars, this one was a giant slave expedition, marked by the seizure and sale of Indian people. Wampanoags were judged criminals and—in a foreshadowing of the convict-labor provision of the Thirteenth Amendment —sold into bondage. During the next two centuries, New England Indians also suffered indentured servitude, convict labor, and debt peonage, which often resulted in the enslavement of the debtor’s children…..

Thanksgiving’s Pilgrim pageants suggest that good-hearted settlers arrived from pious, civilized England. We could remember it differently: that they came from a land that delighted in displaying heads on poles and letting bodies rot in cages suspended above the roads. They were a warrior tribe.

Despite continued demographic decline, loss of land, and severe challenges to shared social identities, Wampanoags held on. With so many men dead or enslaved, Native women married men outside their group—often African-Americans—and then redefined the families of mixed marriages as matrilineal in order to preserve collective claims to land. They adopted the forms of the Christian church, to some degree, in order to gain some breathing space. They took advantage of the remoteness of their settlements to maintain self-governance. And by the late twentieth century they began revitalizing what had been a “sleeping” language, and gained federal recognition as a tribal nation…

David Silverman, in his personal reflections, considers how two secular patriotic hymns, “This Land Is Your Land” and “My Country ’Tis of Thee,” shaped American childhood experiences. When schoolkids sing “Land where my fathers died! Land of the Pilgrim’s pride,” he suggests, they name white, Protestant New England founders. It makes no sense, these days, to ask ethnically diverse students to celebrate those mythic dudes, with their odd hats and big buckles. At the very least, Silverman asks, could we include Indians among “my fathers,” and pay better attention to the ways they died? Could we acknowledge that Indians are not ghosts in the landscape or foils in a delusional nationalist dream, but actual living people?…

This sentiment bumps a little roughly against a second plea: to recognize the falsely inclusive rhetoric in the phrase “This land is your land, this land is my land.” Those lines require the erasure of Indian people, who don’t get to be either “you” or “me.” American Indian people are at least partly excluded from the United States political system, written into the Constitution (in the three-fifths clause and the Fourteenth Amendment, for example, where they appear as “Indians not taxed”) so as to exist outside it. Native American tribes are distinct political entities, sovereign nations in their own right.

“American Indian” is a political identity, not a racial one, constituted by formal, still living treaties with the United States government and a long series of legal decisions.

Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War

Amazon Description

Winner of the 2019 Bancroft Prize: A compelling and original recovery of Native American resistance and adaptation to colonial America. “By making what we thought was a small story very large indeed—Ms. Brooks really does give us ‘A New History of King Philip’s War.’”—The Wall Street Journal.

“Provides a wealth of information for both scholars and lay readers interested in Native American history.”—Publishers Weekly.

With rigorous original scholarship and creative narration, Lisa Brooks recovers a complex picture of war, captivity, and Native resistance during the “First Indian War” (later named King Philip’s War) by relaying the stories of Weetamoo, a female Wampanoag leader, and James Printer, a Nipmuc scholar, whose stories converge in the captivity of Mary Rowlandson. Through both a narrow focus on Weetamoo, Printer, and their network of relations, and a far broader scope that includes vast Indigenous geographies, Brooks leads us to a new understanding of the history of colonial New England and of American origins.

Brooks’ pathbreaking scholarship is grounded not just in extensive archival research but also in the land and communities of Native New England, reading the actions of actors during the seventeenth century alongside an analysis of the landscape and interpretations informed by tribal history.

The Myths of the Thanksgiving Story and the Lasting Damage They Imbue

In truth, massacres, disease and American Indian tribal politics are what shaped the Pilgrim-Indian alliance at the root of the holiday… as David Silverman writes in his new book This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving, much of that story is a myth riddled with historical inaccuracies. Beyond that, Silverman argues that the telling and retelling of these falsehoods is deeply harmful to the Wampanoag Indians whose lives and society were forever damaged after the English arrived in Plymouth.

This Land Is Their Land

Amazon Description

Ahead of the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving, a new look at the Plymouth colony’s founding events, told for the first time with Wampanoag people at the heart of the story.

In March 1621, when Plymouth’s survival was hanging in the balance, the Wampanoag sachem (or chief), Ousamequin (Massasoit), and Plymouth’s governor, John Carver, declared their people’s friendship for each other and a commitment to mutual defense. Later that autumn, the English gathered their first successful harvest and lifted the specter of starvation. Ousamequin and 90 of his men then visited Plymouth for the “First Thanksgiving.” The treaty remained operative until King Philip’s War in 1675, when 50 years of uneasy peace between the two parties would come to an end.

400 years after that famous meal, historian David J. Silverman sheds profound new light on the events that led to the creation, and bloody dissolution, of this alliance. Focusing on the Wampanoag Indians, Silverman deepens the narrative to consider tensions that developed well before 1620 and lasted long after the devastating war-tracing the Wampanoags’ ongoing struggle for self-determination up to this very day.

This unsettling history reveals why some modern Native people hold a Day of Mourning on Thanksgiving, a holiday which celebrates a myth of colonialism and white proprietorship of the United States. This Land is Their Land shows that it is time to rethink how we, as a pluralistic nation, tell the history of Thanksgiving.

500 Native Nations: The Story of North America

Kevin Costner, star of the 1990 film Dances With Wolves, was an Executive Producer of the 500 NATIONS 8-part documentary linked to below and serves as its host.

Costner begins by saying,

My knowledge of history has been limited by what I was taught. As far as I was concerned, the history of the continent started 500 years ago when Columbus ‘discovered’ the ‘new world’. But we know that’s not true. There were people here. So, how is it that we know so little about this past — the human history of North America — our own story?

Could it be that we don’t think it worthy of mention the way history has remembered the ancient civilizations of Greece, Rome, Egypt, or China? The truth is we have a story worth talking about. We have a history worth celebrating. Long before the first Europeans arrived here, there were some 500 nations already in North America. They blanketed the continent from coast to coast, from Central America to the Arctic. There were tens of millions of people here speaking over 300 languages. Many of them lived in beautiful cities among the largest and most advanced in the world.

In the coming hours, 500 Nations looks back on these ancient cultures — how they lived and how many survived. We turned for guidance to hundreds of Indian people across the continent. You’ll meet many of them in our programs. To bring the past alive, we searched archives for the oldest and most authentic images of Indian people. We sought out rare books and manuscripts for the actual words of participants and the eyewitness to history. Our camera crews traveled throughout North America to film at the actual places where important events in Indian history occurred. We filmed incredible treasures of Indian creativity from museums across North America and Europe. Historians and archeologists worked with visual artists and advanced computer technology to allow us for the first time to walk through virtual realities of ancient Indian worlds.

What you are about to see is what happened. It’s not all that happened and it’s not always pleasant. We can’t change that. We can’t turn back the clock, but we can open our eyes and give the First Nations of this land the recognition and respect they deserve, their rightful place in the history of the world. With that in mind, we take you first to where our story ends — on the Great Plains in the late 1800s.


500 Nations is an eight-part American documentary television series that was aired on CBS in 1995, about the Native Americans of North and Central America. It documents events from the Pre-Columbian era to the end of the 19th century. Much of the information comes from text, eyewitnesses, pictorials, and computer graphics.

500 Nations: An Illustrated History of North American Indians

The story of Native American leaders, customs, political systems, and ways of life, this is American history from the Native American perspective: friendship, betrayal, war, and ultimately, the loss of homeland. A companion volume to the CBS series produced by Kevin Costner, Jack Leustig, and James Wilson aired in 1995. Illustrations & photos.

500 Nations DVD is the 8-part series hosted by Costner.

The Original Instructions

In the 2008 video Indigenous Native American Prophecy, actor Floyd Red Crow Westerman said Native Americans were told that they would see America come and go. He said, “In a sense, America is dying from within because they forgot the instructions on how to live on Earth”. He warned that people who do not know how to live spiritually on Earth likely will not make it. He explained that when Columbus came, that started the true First World War. By WWII, the indigenous population of the Americas had dropped from 60 million to 800,000! The Native American population in the US is currently 4.5 million.

Fortunately for the world, the Native American nations have survived and have retained much of their inspiring cultures. Several are working to restore their languages. These nations which the West tried so hard to wipe out are now here to share their ancient proven wisdom to save the world. We would be wise to listen and learn from them once again.

Original Instructions: Indigenous Teachings for a Sustainable Future

Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson studied with the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations Iroquois) for 30 years. In 1987, the US Congress admitted that the US Constitution was inspired by the Haudenosaunee system of government. New York Times: IROQUOIS CONSTITUTION: A FORERUNNER TO COLONISTS’ DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES.

“American” is a name the British colonists used for the Indigenous peoples of this hemisphere. When the US Founding Fathers declared independence from Great Britain, they adopted the name “American” and founded The United States of America. This shows just some of how deep our connection is to the original peoples of this hemisphere!

Learning the wisdom of Native America again and how to follow The Original Instructions is the best way to avoid the Sixth Mass Extinction that our way of life is causing.

Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth

There are growing calls now for us to “Think Different” as Apple advises us. We have no choice if we want to survive now. There are only 6 inches of top soil left now — enough to grow food for just 60 more years! Native Americans Are a “Keystone Species” shows that the Native American worldview leads to abundance. Are we wise enough to learn from them again now?

Eckhart Tolle is the author of A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, Oneness With All Life, and Stillness Speaks. He explains in the video below that we are going through a period of insanity, a collective illness. Why Joe Rogan’s Interviews on Mass Psychosis “Broke The Internet”  explains that Belgian psychologist Prof. Mattias Desmet, author The Psychology of Totalitarianism, says the world is going through at “Mass Formation” psychosis.

Tolle says we need wisdom now. He predicts that as we move past the ego now, there will be a very different Great Reset from the one the globalists are planning!

Video: “A Great Reset Will Happen…” Eckhart Tolle

National Day of Transformation

Thanksgiving can be a Day of Transformation — day of learning and healing — individually, for the nation, and for the world. This may be one of the best ways to protect ourselves now from the globalists’ plans for The Great Reset in which the World Economic Forum says that by 2030 “You will own nothing” and we will be merged with Artificial Intelligence! Drug companies make billions of dollars from the Indian botanical knowledge, but do nothing to help protect those cultures which are such an ancient sources of wisdom. Westerners are flocking to the Amazon to drink ayahuasca with Amazonian shamans, but also are doing little to help protect the Amazon.

The Flip Book below shows how we can use this holiday now to reconcile with the 500 Native Nations who so inspired our sense of what it means to be free.

Click through my Transformation Day Flip Book below.

See my Transformation Day site.

For More Information

  1. The Strange Garden of Eden Story
  2. Water Is Life Festival: September 4
  3. Native America’s Gifts To The World
  4. Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples’ Day?
  5. Why We Must Be Honest This Thanksgiving
  6. Celebrating Native American Heritage Month
  7. First Native American US Secretary of Interior
  8. 100 Year Anniversary of Santa Fe Indian Market
  9. Can Native America Transform The World Again?
  10. Native American Day: Learning The Way of Earth
  11. Growing Calls To Repudiate “Doctrine of Discovery”
  12. How Reconciliation With Native America Can Save Us
  13. Mapping a New Geography of Hope With Native America
  14. Putting Native America Back On The Map To Re-Discover Ourselves

My Articles On Native America on my Urban Gardens Revolution site will have upcoming articles.

Neenah Payne writes for Activist Post and Natural Blaze

Top image credit: She Geeks Out

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