Setting historical record straight on Pilgrims,Thanksgiving gathering
To the editor:
First, thank you to Dr. Anita Gaul for responding to my June 10 letter to the editor ( School board’s statement on LGBTQ flag). I think that next to love, communication is the essence of life.
I agree with Dr. Gaul that our nation is unfortunately still grappling with racism, inequality and injustice. I also agree that the treatment of native Americans and others in our country has been deplorable at times. However, that does not change the truth that the Pilgrims came to America seeking religious freedom, or that the Thanksgiving gathering in 1621 was indeed a time to thank God for His care (even though less than half of the Pilgrims survived that first winter). Or that Chief Massasoit and his 90 Wampanoag men contributed five dressed deer and wild turkeys to the feast and stayed three days to enjoy the food and company. Peace with Chief Massasoit lasted 50 years!
Edward Doty, indentured servant to Pilgrim Stephen Hopkins, was one of my ancestors. It was rewarding to read William Bradford’s history, “Of Plimoth Plantation” and find Edward mentioned several times. There was no mention of the Pequot War.
According to the World Book Encyclopedia, the Pequot War took place in Connecticut: “The Connecticut colonists feared the Pequot natives because small bands of the tribe had attacked their settlements.”
Indeed, the Pequot saw the colonists as a threat to them. But it was a “Captain John Mason, aided by Mohegan and Narraganset warriors, who led a small army against the Pequot on June 5, 1637, burning the village.”
“Puritan Cotton Mather wrote, “the colonists thought this a sweet sacrifice . . .” (Indian Wars, World Book Encyclopedia) The whole story does matter; our nation’s history does have warts and wounds. Healing does begin with acknowledging wrongs, as Dr. Gaul stated. Asking for forgiveness and giving forgiveness, as God does, is also vital. “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
Love for all was first demonstrated by God. In love, God also gave us rules to live by as He, in His wisdom, saw fit. A simple statement by the Marshall School Board allowing only neutral items to be displayed in the public and charter schools would respect and include God’s feelings, too. Preserving the liberty the Pilgrims sought helps to keep America free.