the myth of the ‘first Thanksgiving’
In 1970, Massachusetts was preparing to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the arrival of the Pilgrim Fathers on the Mayflower.
The 53 surviving men, women and children who had left England in search of “religious freedom” are credited with starting America’s first successful colony, in Plymouth, in 1620. Their voyage to the so-called New World is celebrated by many Americans still as a powerful symbol of the birth of the United States.
But at the last minute, event organisers reportedly realized something was missing.
So they invited a member of the Wampanoag Nation, or People of the First Light – the loose confederation of south-eastern New England tribes whose ancestors were immortalised as the “friendly Indians” who welcomed the Pilgrims and feasted with them at the “first Thanksgiving” in 1621.