Support these broadcasts and our volunteer work as Certified Music Practitioners. Call us to order Collecting Consort recordings at 888-227-8679 (Toll Free)
Let us Break Bread Together (Afro-American) (no recording)
Road to Listoonvarna (Irish) (Recording: Earths Essence)
We Gather Together (Dutch) (Recording: Michigan's Heritage)
America's Thanksgiving (with
missing components) (G. Wakenhut)
Thank You, Sara, The Woman Who Saved
Thanksgiving (Author: Laurie Halse Anderson,
Illustrator: Matt Faulkner, Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books
for Young Readers.)
This book (no music) is available from our friends, Horizon Books, (this is a family owned independent bookstore with three outlets in Michigan). They would appreciate your support.
Order on line at http://www.horizonbooks.com/
243 E. Front St.
Traverse City, MI 49684
or call toll free
7 a.m.-11 p.m., seven days a week
Robertson) (No recording)
The History of
A long time ago, before we had rockets that could take us to the moon or planes that could travel around the world in a few hours, and before we had telephones and computers that could send pictures to our grandparents, and before we had digital clocks to wake us in the morning, and before we had heated homes with electricity for lights, we lived life in a much different way.
We would awake in the morning to the sounds of nature’s birds and the gentle presence of an emerging sun, and our day would end with beautiful colors in the western sky. We would measure our hours with the sun’s position above us and take note of our direction of travel in reference to the stars, planets, and the moon.
Longer periods would be counted according to the number of times the moon cycles from full to new. Still longer passages would be measured by the numbers of cold seasons when the day was short and the night long.
We would look forward toward the light of the full moon because the animals would be able to see the animals as they moved, and we be able to harvest their meat for our next meal.
It was in this way that the world about us with its heavens above told us where to go, what to do, and when to do it. Thus it was that we were directed by the earth’s rotation and its relationship to the sun, and we would celebrate with festivals and ceremony, the four divisions that marked the seasons of the year.
There were no TVs or DVDs to watch nor books to read. Instead, we would sit around the warmth and glow of fire and share the important stories of our past that our ancestors had learned from their ancestors.
Our food was not ready to eat, and we didn’t get it from a large store. There were no potato chips, cheese curls or M & Ms. We might go for several days with nothing to eat except some roots or berries until we finally were able to kill a large animal or catch a fish.
We didn’t have a home. Instead, we would follow animal herds or search unknown areas for the food that would keep us alive.
In time, we came to discover that we could raise animals and crops instead of traveling great distances to find them. We learned to salt and dry our meat and produce and save it for the coldest time of the year when it was difficult to travel and hunt the animals. We began to build homes and villages and to share with each other, the fruits of our labor.
This was the birth of our present day Thanksgiving. Our work through the previous seasons had been motivated by our desire to sustain our sustenance through the cold and darkness of the season of the long nights, and we were grateful and celebrated our achievement by giving thanks.
The Pilgrim’s first Thanksgiving occurred at the same time as the Netherlands's celebration. It is a story that has been well documented in American history. But there are a few facts that proceed and follow this story that also need to be shared.
In the area of Massachusetts where the Pilgrims would eventually settle, there was a band of Native Americans known as the Wampanoag. One of their members, Squanto became quite close to a John Weymouth, a British explorer. Squanto went with him to England, and while there, learned the English language. Then Squanto returned to the New World, but his travels were not done. He was captured by an English slave ship and taken to the Caribbean Islands where he was sold to the Spaniards. Fortunately, he was befriended by a Franciscan priest who helped him to travel to Spain and then gain passage on a ship to England. There, he found his old friend Weymouth, who bought his passage back to America. Before Squanto left England, he found a member of his own tribe, Samoset. Together they returned to America to find their village deserted. Every one of their fellow tribesmen had fallen to the foreign illnesses left behind by the slavers.
During this same period in England, there was a very strong religious group, fighting against the Cromwell oppression. They were the Puritans. They believed that they were God’s “chosen elect” as mentioned in the book of Revelation. They strove to “purify” themselves and then everyone else who did not accept their interpretation of scripture.
To escape the British control of their lives, they moved to the Netherlands where they were allowed to worship as they pleased, but they soon became concerned by the Dutch influence on their families and returned to England. There they began planning the long journey to America where they would eventually declare themselves as an independent confederacy that would be the “Kingdom of God” as foretold in the book of Revelation.
110 of them boarded an over crowded ship for the two month long journey. Many became sick, and one of their members died before reaching the New World. Used to the temperate climate of England, they were ill prepared for the rain, ice, snow and cold temperatures of the New England coast. Only 50 of the original 110 survived that first winter.
When spring arrived, the Indian, Samoset discovered the plight of these starving and sick immigrants. His presence frightened the Pilgrims, and they were somewhat relieved when he called out “Welcome” in English. The next day, he returned with his friend Squanto. It was the way of their tribe to provide for others when they were in need. Therefore, Squanto remained with these poor settlers, teaching them to tap the maple trees, recognize the plants for their medicinal powers, and plant the Indian corn with fish in each mound for fertilizer.
That October, the harvest was very successful, and the Pilgrim governor, William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving similar to the celebrations held in their homeland, in England.
Some present day historians, especially those of Native American descent, feel that the invitation offered to the Indians to join in the celebration was just a political move. The Native Americans far outnumbered the Pilgrims, and while the Wampanoag were a peaceful organization, the Pilgrims still felt anxious about their presence.
They invited Squanto, Samoset, and Massasoit, the chief of the Wampanoags to join in this celebration, but they were ill prepared for 90 Indians who came. Chief Massasoit, recognizing the problem sent out his people for food, and as it turned out, the Native Americans provided most of the food for the first thanksgiving.
Unfortunately, the celebration and sharing that took place for the next three days was soon forgotten. More Puritans were arriving from England, and did not realize the role the Native Americans had played with the first settlers. Seeing themselves as being God’s chosen people, they branded the Indians as heathen and belonging to the Devil. Needless to say, they were pleased to see that God punished and killed the Native Americans with the same diseases they had brought from England.
Thus it was that the relationship deteriorated within a few years, and the children of those who ate together at the first Thanksgiving eventually were killing each other in what came to be called, King Philip’s War.