Thursday, November 25, 2021

401 Hundred Years Ago…

The Pilgrims landed on Cape Cod and most of the history that we learned about it is wrong.

The New York Post has this article about the Pilgrims…
Pilgrims’ descendants defend their ancestors — and the history of America
By Peter W. Wood
November 21, 2020

Rebecca Locklear, 64, a 12th-generation Cape Codder, is a descendant of four of the families who arrived on the Mayflower in November 1620. She worries that society today, “is put into groups that are supposedly in a struggle against one another, rather than looking for commonality” — a view that opposes “the more open, inclusive society that the signers of the Mayflower Compact envisioned.”
Locklear and Whitaker both wrote to me after they read my recent New York Post essay, “This American Lie.” In it, I argued that The New York Times’ 1619 Project — which links the beginning of our country to the arrival of the first slaves on our shores in 1619 — is completely wrong. Instead, the Pilgrims’ signing of the Mayflower Compact in 1620 is a more accurate root of our nation, which is built on the idea that “all men are created equal.” Even before the Pilgrims and dozens of non-Pilgrims (or “Strangers” as the Pilgrims called them) stepped ashore in Plymouth, they set aside their deep divisions and voluntarily joined together to sign the Compact, agreeing to govern themselves with “just and equal laws.” After settling in Plymouth, this group lived in peace alongside their Native American neighbors, the Wampanoags, in a treaty that was unbroken for more than 50 years. In 1621, the autumn harvest meal between the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoags marked the first ever Thanksgiving feast in America.
Yes, the Mayflower Compact was an important document but they brought over slaves and indentured servants. And they didn’t live in peace with the indigenous population… Did you ever hear of the King Phillip War and the Pequot War?

First off the Mayflower wasn’t just carrying Pilgrims, there were also Brownists or Separatists who were fleeing England on board the Mayflower.
The Mayflower compact is a significant historical document, the "wave-rocked cradle of our liberties", as one historian evocatively put it. Signed by the Pilgrims and the so-called Strangers, the craftsmen, merchants and indentured servants brought with them to establish a successful colony, it agreed to pass "just and equal laws for the good of the Colony"1
The Mayflower first stop in “New World” (which was really only the “New World” if you came from Europe because the indigenous peoples lived here for tens of thousands of years.) wasn’t Provincetown, they first stopped in Newfoundland to resupply, probably at Renews in Newfoundland. And they were actually heading for the Hudson River where they had a charter from the Virginia Colony to settle.

The Pilgrims had slaves and indentured servants (a fancy word for slaves).
Just as their brutality has traditionally been downplayed, the Puritans' embrace of slavery has been ignored. Not only did the colonists import African slaves, they exported Native Americans. By the 1660s, half of the ships in Boston Harbour were involved in the slave trade. At least hundreds of indigenous Americans were enslaved.1
Provincetown was a known harbor, fishing fleets from England, France, Portugal, and Spanish ships all stopped there to resupply and get fresh water. The Grand Banks are only a couple of hundred miles offshore.

In an article in the Cape Cod Times they write...
Myth: The Pilgrims were the first Europeans to land in Southern New England and to interact with the Native people. 
The commonly told version of the 1620 Mayflower landing is that the Pilgrims were the first Europeans to step onto the shores of Massachusetts. According to historic accounts, however, Europeans had been visiting New England since at least the late 1400s. The Basques, English and French had a thriving fishing industry off the coast of Maine and New England. The first documented European to make contact with either the Narragansetts or the Wampanoags in Southern New England was Italian explorer Giovanni de Verrazano, who, in 1524, while sailing for the French, traveled up Narragansett Bay and traded with the Native people he found there. 6
The BBC article also mentioned earlier contacts with Europeans,
It's also a mistake to view the arrival of the Mayflower as the first interaction between white settlers and indigenous North Americans. Contact with Europeans had been going on for at least a century, partly because slave traders targeted Native Americans. When the pilgrims came ashore, a few members of the Wampanoag tribe could even speak English.1
While sitting out in Provincetown harbor they realized that they didn't have a charter to settle there and there were no laws governing them. So they got this idea… The Mayflower Compact.
Quickly, the Pilgrim leadership drafted a rudimentary constitution to “combine our selves together into a civil body politick”—which would, through democratic process, enact “just and equal laws…for the general good of the Colony.”
In reality, the signing was probably more of an informal affair, Pickering says. “The document was carried from person to person: ‘Here—sign this!’ There was also a bit of coercion involved. You weren’t getting off the boat until you signed.”2
And they were not good neighbors… They stole the Wampanoag food!

Oh look somebody buried corn in clay pots!
To narrow it down to the outermost areas of Cape Cod, the Nauset tribe, which was part of the Wampanoag Nation, would likely have been watching and wondering what the intentions of the Mayflower occupants were, Peters said.
“Certainly the Nausets didn’t write down (that) they were watching the Mayflower come ashore, but we absolutely know that they would have. You can’t pull that boat up to the coast and people not notice,” he said. “And for them, it must have been such an odd sight to all of a sudden see women and children step off the ship …”
The text also describes how the exploring party came across “heaps of sand” under which they found baskets of “fair Indian corn” and ears of corn of varying colors. The Englishmen dug up the food stores and stole them.
After stealing their food the Nausets said enough…
“I think they would have thought about that very carefully, and I think they were careful in how they responded,” he said. “Ultimately, they did respond in the ‘first encounter’... you know, shoot some arrows at them to say, ‘OK, time for you to move along. We don’t want to take the risk of having Europeans hanging around here.’ That ultimately pushed them over to Plymouth, which was just a short ride in the shallop for them to get there.”3
The Wampanoag tells their story for the 400 anniversary of the Mayflower…
The Wampanoag have lived in southeastern Massachusetts for more than 12,000 years. They are the tribe first encountered by Mayflower Pilgrims when they landed in Provincetown harbor and explored the eastern coast of Cape Cod and when they continued on to Patuxet (Plymouth) to establish Plymouth Colony.
Chapter 1: Captured: 1614
In 1614, a European explorer kidnapped twenty Wampanoag men from Patuxet (now Plymouth) and seven more from Nauset on Cape Cod to sell them as slaves in Spain. Only one is known to have returned home: Tisquantum, who came to be known as Squanto. This tragic and compelling backstory to the colonization of Plymouth has been long overlooked comes to life in the exhibit’s dramatic images and video impact statements.
Chapter 3: The Great Dying – 2016
God’s Will or Unfortunate Circumstance?

Between 1616 and 1619 Native villages of coastal New England from Maine to Cape Cod were stricken by a catastrophic plague that killed tens of thousands, weakening the Wampanoag nation politically, economically and militarily.5
And then came the Mayflower.

As for the first "Thanksgiving" the indigenous peoples were not invited but can a running. 
Myth: The Pilgrims and Wampanoags came together in November 1621 for a Thanksgiving feast. 
There’s a lot to unpack with this one, and not just because it forms the basis of our country’s Thanksgiving Day story. 

First, while the Puritans did have “days of Thanksgiving” they were literally the opposite of a big, fun, family feast. They were usually days of fasting and prayer that maybe would be broken with a larger meal. 

Edward Winslow, in his writing about the first few years in Plymouth titled “Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims in Plymouth,” does mention a celebration marking the settlement’s first successful harvest, probably held around October 1621. Given the context, it certainly wasn’t a huge deal but it would later become one in modern America.

According to Winslow, despite the fact that the Wampanoags had allowed the Pilgrims to live on their land, provided them with aid and taught them how to successfully grow native crops, the Wampanoags were not invited to this celebration. They arrived only after the Pilgrims started shooting their guns into the air. Believing themselves to be under attack, the Wampanoags head sachem, Massasoit, showed up at the settlement with about 90 warriors expecting war. Instead, they found a celebration and they decided to stay, with their hunters bringing in five deer as a contribution. Rather than a happy celebration of camaraderie and partnership, the feast that would serve as the basis of the traditional Thanksgiving myth was actually quite a tense affair, fraught with political implications.6

The Pilgrims and the Mayflower have been romanticized and the truth has been swept under the rug and glossed over and now on the 400 anniversary of their landing in the “New World” is still trying to be whitewashed and the Trump is creating of the 1776 Commission to continue to whitewash history.

I am up at the cottage this Thanksgiving by choice, the family is down on New Jersey and I chose to be at the cottage because I think that the traffic this year will be insane. People want to get out of the house. They forecasted record breaking traffic this year so I decided to come up here on Tuesday and go home the first of December, hopefully the traffic will not be that bad then. If I went to New Jersey that would have meant a week at a motel in scenic New Jersey or if I went down Thanksgiving morning and drove back home that night it would have made a very long day for four hours with family.

The Holidays are an especially lonely time, they might have been estranged from their family since they came out to them or their families and children have disowned them, for them Thanksgiving is a time when they feel their loss the greatest. Thanksgiving is a time where we reflect on all that we have been thankful for the year but for those of us it could also be a time a great sadness while they see others around them celebrating during the holiday seasons. So let us open our hearts and doors to them and invite them to the table (If they want to be with others, some want to be alone).

I also want to thank all the military men and women who are away from their loved ones this holiday... thank you for your service.

No comments:

Post a Comment