Source: New York Times
By Maya Salam
Not to rain on our Thanksgiving Day parade, but the story of the first Thanksgiving, as most Americans have been taught it, is not exactly accurate.
Blame school textbooks with details often so abridged, softened or out of context that they are rendered false; children’s books that distill the story to its most pleasant version; or animated Thanksgiving television specials like “The Mouse on the Mayflower,” which first aired in 1968, that not only misinformed a generation, but also enforced a slew of cringeworthy stereotypes.
High school textbooks are particularly bad about stating absolutes because these materials “teach history” by giving students facts to memorize even when the details may be unclear, said James W. Loewen, a sociologist and the author of “Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong.”
“That mind-set pervades everything they talk about and certainly Thanksgiving,” he said.
The timeline is relative.
The Mayflower did bring the Pilgrims to North America from Plymouth, England, in 1620, and they disembarked at what is now Plymouth, Mass., where they set up a colony. In 1621, they celebrated a successful harvest with a three-day gathering that was attended by members of the Wampanoag tribe. It’s from this that we derive Thanksgiving as we know it.