UPDATE:Just heard a Special Program on Pilgrim Radio, my local Christian radio, Remembering Pilgrims, created by Moody Radio. It did a very nice job of dramatizing some of the events and interviewing experts to give basically the same information I've covered below.
Wish it was available online somewhere so I could link to it but it doesn't seem to be.
Didn't get a Thanksgiving message together this year but maybe I can get a brief belated one up at least. Chris Pinto did a message on the first Thanksgiving of the Pilgrims, demonstrating that they DID have a feast that included turkey and they DID share it with the peaceable friendly Indians who were their neighbors, contrary to some propaganda we've heard in recent years that says the Pilgrims didn't get along with the Indians and so on.
Here's the link to his radio show page, where you can find his Thanksgiving show for November 27th over the next few days, until it rolls into his website where you have to subscribe to listen.
He begins by reading some psalms of Thanksgiving, for the first nine minutes or so, and then starts to get into the story of the first Pilgrims, how they had many tragedies and many died the first winter but how they had a good harvest the next year and that was the reason for the Thanksgiving celebration, which they planned to last three days.
Edward Winslow was the assistant governor to Bradford and wrote a report on the Thanksgiving celebration. Pinto quotes from Winslow's account, which he wrote in a letter in December of the year of the celebration, which is published at the website Mayflower History dot com. Winslow reports that they had a good harvest of wheat and Indian corn although some of their other crops hadn't done so well. After they got in the harvest four men went out and brought back enough fowl to feed the company for a week. They were joined by neighboring Indians including Chief Massasoit and ninety of his men, whom the Pilgrims entertained and feasted for the three days, after which the Indians went out and killed five deer, which they presented to the governor.
So there it is from an eyewitness at the time who participated in the feast, who ought to know. So that those historians who emphasize the conflicts with the Indians that did occur but at different places and at other times are simply wrong to discount the story of the first Thanksgiving and the basis for our continuing to celebrate it.
Twenty years later Governor Bradford wrote his History of Plymouth Plantation in which he also described the great plenty they enjoyed that second year although he doesn't describe the Thanksgiving feast itself. He describes the abundance they enjoyed including fish and fowl along with a peck (two gallons) of meal per person per week, and mentions that they also had many wild turkeys. Winslow doesn't mention the turkeys so we can thank Bradford for that piece of our historical lore that justifies our continuing way of celebrating the holiday.
Pinto goes on to mention another historical document written by a visitor to the plantation, a William Hilton, who arrived on a ship called The Fortune soon after that first Thanksgiving. He wrote home to England about... turkeys! AND reports that the neighboring Indians were "peaceable and friendly," which contradicts a lot of that revisionist history about the murderous white man who couldn't possibly have celebrated a friendly feast with the Indians. Hilton also describes the abundance of natural foods in the land, from nuts and berries to fish and fowl and game, and also describes the people as genuinely godly Christians.
So is the traditional story of Thanksgiving vindicated.
Pinto then goes into a discussion of a website called The Kasama Project which promotes Communism and seeks a Communist takeover of America, and includes a page titled Native Blood: The Myth of Thanksgiving, all about how the first white settlers wouldn't have invited Indians to a feast but only murdered them and stole their land from them, and about "the ruthless ways of capitalism"* ("unlike the Communists," Pinto goes on, who murdered over a hundred million people in the twentieth century alone).
He mentions the Salem Witch Trials in relation to the idea that the white settlers were nothing but murderers (while of course the Communists are the peace lovers who murder the unborn along with anybody who objects to Communism when they are in power). He says he got this information in the mail about how the Salem leaders had a day of fasting and contrition for that blot in their history.
Another website Pinto mentions is Pilgrim Hall dot org.
I might as well also include a link to my post on Thanksgiving from 2010 which also deals with the propaganda that seeks to denigrate this part of American history
*We need to be praying against Communism too. Another subject I might do a post on if I can get to it is the Pope's recent denunciation of capitalism, which I heard Rush Limbaugh talked about on his show yesterday.