Monday, July 15, 2024
HomeNotes From KathyHappy Thanksgiving and Native American Heritage Day

Happy Thanksgiving and Native American Heritage Day

The First Thanksgiving 1621, oil on canvas by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1899). The painting shows common misconceptions about the event which persist to modern times: Pilgrims did not wear such outfits, nor did they eat at a dinner table, and the Wampanoag are dressed in the style of Native Americans from the Great Plains. (Wikipedia)

This is Thanksgiving week here in the United States. For our international readers, this holiday is a celebration of the harvest and a time to count our blessings and thank everyone who contributed to all the good things in our lives. Families and friends get together for a big meal on Thursday that usually includes turkey and stuffing, and, since 1876, it’s also included a football game.

A 1605 map of Plymouth Harbor by Samuel de Champlain showing wigwams and cultivated fields. Tisaquantum escaped the disease because he had been kidnapped and sold into slavery by an earlier British visitor to the new world. He returned home after regaining his freedom.Public domain graphic via Wikipedia.

The story behind the holiday dates back to the 1600s. British pilgrims sited their new colony where a Patuxet village had been. The former residents had all died from a disease brought to the new world by Europeans. They left behind cleared fields, perfect for the new residents. But the Pilgrims didn’t know how to farm in this new land, and would not have survived without the help of the only surviving Patuxet, Tisquantum. His name was anglicized to Squanto.

To honor and recognize Native Americans as the first people of this nation and to celebrate both their cultural heritage and integral importance to our past, our present, and our future, Congress established November as Native American Heritage Month The Friday after Thanksgiving is Native American Heritage Day.

In honor of the first Thanksgiving and Native American Heritage Month, this week’s collection of articles reminds us of some of the lessons we can take from that first meeting near Plymouth Rock. I hope you’ll enjoy them.

Happy Thanksgiving,


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Kathy Voth
Kathy Voth
I am the founder, editor and publisher of On Pasture, now retired. My career spanned 40 years of finding creative solutions to problems, and sharing ideas with people that encouraged them to work together and try new things. From figuring out how to teach livestock to eat weeds, to teaching range management to high schoolers, outdoor ed graduation camping trips with fifty 6th graders at a time, building firebreaks with a 130-goat herd, developing the signs and interpretation for the Storm King Fourteen Memorial trail, receiving the Conservation Service Award for my work building the 150-mile mountain bike trail from Grand Junction, Colorado to Moab, Utah...well, the list is long so I'll stop with, I've had a great time and I'm very grateful.

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