The Turkey Tradition


At the start of the 17th century, New England was home to several communities, the people of the first light, the Ninnimissinuok, called their home “the Dawn land”. After years of trading with the European folks, things took a different route once the Europeans started kidnapping the natives to sell as slaves. However, in 1616, tradesmen brought alongside them a disease that killed a bunch of inhabitants of the Dawn land, and under a period of 3 year tops, most of its inhabitants were dead. Their Sachem, Massasoit (leader of the village), was aware of the outcome of their fate, and of top of that, he had to keep his eyes open to the threats of their close enemy, the Narraganset people.

Meanwhile in England, the Church of England was having some issues within its followers: the pilgrims and puritans started having a conflict against one another to decide whether or not the if the Church would go through reformation, since the puritans wanted reformation and the pilgrims didn’t. On the other hand, king James, owner of the Church, was getting sick of it, the separatists decided to go to another side not so far of Europe where they were free to worship, however they felt as if they were losing their identity and nationality. They headed back to England and asked king James permission to build a colony in America.

With king James approval, they set sail on September 6 on the Mayflower, and 2 months later, Cape Cod was spotted and a few men went off-board to inspect the area, and for their surprise, the first encounter with natives took place days after residing the area. Luckily no one was killed. On December 12, the mayflower set sail again, this time they has reached New Plymouth, after a few months of construction, they were surprised when a native named Samoset walked into New Plymouth greeting it them in English, he then told them about the devastating disease that killed inhabitants who once lived there. The pilgrims were down to trading with the natives, 5 days later they returned with resources and companion, and along with them a boy named Squanto, told them in perfect English that their Sachem, Massasoit had arrived.

Massasoit has dealt with English people for far too long, he didn’t trust the new habitants of Plymouth. Edward Winslow was sent to declare their peaceful intention, and Massassoit gave the Englishmen another chance to prove wrong his mindset about those people and their intention, since the last time he trusted those people and they broke his trust with robbery and slavery.

Massasoit was nicely greeted by the governor of the pilgrims and an alliance was created, and by fall, October, 1621, they had grown a bountiful harvest and a feast was held to celebrate, Massasoit showed up with 90 of his soldiers for the meal, the feast lasted for 3 days. The Englishmen and natives ate and entertained one another, and this was the very first Thanksgiving meal in history. Each year the same feast would happen at the end of a harvest, and in 1836, the president Abraham Lincoln decided to make Thanksgiving a national holiday, and up to this day families gather up for a Thanksgiving dinner with many sorts of food, not to mention the so-deliciously-awaited turkey everyone loves to eat.


The English people and Wampanoag having their first Thanksgiving dinner