Angelina Jolie Hates Thanksgiving, Refuses to Celebrate, Report Says
What is interesting in all of this is that the Thanksgiving holiday has nothing to do with the treatment of the American Indians by white Europeans.
In 1621 the colonists of the Plymouth Colony (history usually refers to them as the Pilgrims) had suffered through a devastating winter. Of the 102 original settlers 45 had died of illness and exposure and the majority of those left alive were sick with diseases like scurvy. By the time the first harvest feast (the pilgrims did not call it a Thanksgiving celebration - to them that would have involved a day-long religious service that would not have featured food or revelry) was celebrated following the harvest in November 1621 only four if the original 18 adult women were left alive to celebrate.
Had it not been for the friendship of the Wampanoag Indians it is highly unlikely that any of the Englishmen would have survived that first winter. However with the assistance of the Indians the colonists began to learn to adapt themselves to the New World. By Autumn of 1621 the colonists had both planted and gathered in their first crop in their new home.
It was against this backdrop that the Pilgrims held a three day long harvest celebration in which the 53 surviving colonists hosted about 90 Wampanoag Indians (who added 5 deer to the geese, turkeys, fish, eels, clams and assorted fruits and vegetables provided by the colonists).
The Pilgrims of Plymouth did not make the harvest celebration an official holiday. It was not until the presidency of George Washington that an annual feast of Thanksgiving was proclaimed (originally to celebrate the ratification of the Constitution) but the practice was stopped by Thomas Jefferson during his presidency because he found it to be "a kingly custom".
It was not until Abraham Lincoln was president that the last Thursday (later that was changed to the fourth Thursday) in November was officially declared to be "Thanksgiving Day" in which all Americans were urged to give thanks unto God for all his blessings upon us as individuals, families and a nation.
As can be seen the modern Thanksgiving has little to do with the original Plymouth harvest celebration. It is about acknowledging God as the source of all good, not the murder of Native Americans. Which makes declarations like that of Ms. Jolie both ignorant and crudely stupid.
Oh, two other points need to be made about "the first Thanksgiving". One, it was not a religious observance. While the Pilgrims certainly prayed and gave thanks to God for the first harvest and their Indian friends an actual Thanksgiving service would have involved spending all day in church praying and worshiping. Not cooking and eating and engaging in other festivities.
Two, the Pilgrims organized their colony around the principle of communal ownership. All crops harvested were to be placed in the communal storehouse (along with the produce of activities like hunting and trapping) and to be distributed equally among the population.
This experiment with communism brought the colonists to the brink of starvation and by 1623 it was abandoned in favor of private property. This allowed the colony to prosper greatly.
I bring these things up because some in the Church try to make the story of the "first Thanksgiving" about how the Pilgrims suffered devastating losses during their first year but still chose to give thanks to God. This demonstrates the point that a Christian is thankful despite rather than because of his circumstances.
While the Pilgrims were grateful to God even in the midst of adversity that wasn't really the point of their first harvest celebration.
Another error made about the "first Thanksgiving" is being popularized by radio talker Rush Limbaugh and that is that the Pilgrims were giving thanks for being able to abandon their experiment with communism. The idea is that they nearly starved under the system of communal ownership and when they went over to private property they begin prospering and held a big party to celebrate their new found wealth.
A nice story but not true. The "first Thanksgiving" was held in 1621 and communism was not abandoned until 1623.
The "first Thanksgiving" was a big party held to celebrate the fact that the colonists had survived their first horrible year in the New World and had managed to grow enough food to see them through the coming winter. It had nothing to do with genocide, racism, free-market capitalism or solemn religious observance.