The First Thanksgiving: Was it a Meal With Friends or Foes?

Carolina Viegas, Writer, Contributor

The First Thanksgiving: Was it a Meal With Friends or Foes?

Written by Carolina Viegas

The First Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag (A Native American tribe), sometime in November of 1621. It took place in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Originally, it was just the Pilgrims having a feast but then the Wampanoag joined the Pilgrims. The Pilgrims and the Wampanoag were not friends when the Pilgrims first arrived. They didn’t know each other. The Pilgrims left England to get away from the church. They were Separatists. When the Pilgrims first arrived, they didn’t know a lot about surviving in the wilderness. They had just come from England and didn’t know how to hunt or fish. This was a big problem because they needed food to survive. A lot of people died of hunger and disease in the first winter. The Wampanoag saw the Pilgrims struggling with hunting. Assuming that the Wampanoag felt bad for the Pilgrims, they helped them. The Wampanoag taught the Pilgrims how to hunt, fish and use their natural resources in an efficient way. They helped the Pilgrims survive. The friendship of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag was strengthened after the First Thanksgiving. 

This friendship might have been real for a short period of time but then it was shattered. The Wampanoag helped the Pilgrims stay alive after half of the Pilgrim’s  population died. This caring act should have been enough to keep the Pilgrims from taking their land. Unfortunately, the power that came with stabbing the Wamanoag in the back was greater than their actions and their friendship. The Pilgrim’s population started to expand as time went on. More and more people came to Plymouth so they can have a fresh start. As the population kept expanding, the land that the Wampanoag had kept getting smaller. This kept happening to Native American Tribes continuously as time went on. History does repeat itself!

The First Thanksgiving was a time to be grateful. Even though the Pilgrims ended up taking the Wampanoag’s land, the First Thanksgiving did represent gratitude towards others. Now, Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for what you have but without stealing other people’s land. Thanksgiving is a day to celebrate what you have and the privileges you have. 

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