It’s Thanksgiving! Yay! To some, it’s their favorite holiday of the year (and why wouldn’t it be given all the delicious food). However, though most of us are fairly familiar with the festivities of Thanksgiving, there are some misconceptions involved in this beloved holiday. Sadly, what we’re taught growing up doesn’t always match the full historical story. Here we explore 25 truths about Thanksgiving which are historically accurate and put more focus on the Native Americans involved in the iconic American tradition. We clear up myths, go more in depth into the Natives participation, and present some new facts you didn’t know before about the first American holiday of the season. Take a look at these 25 historically accurate and modern day Thanksgiving facts.
Out of the many Native American tribes, only members of the Wampanoag Confederacy (a group of 50+ tribes responsible for the Pilgrims’ survival) were in attendance.
Continuing the Tradition
The new settlers were familiar with thanksgiving feasts before arriving to the Americas; they were commonly celebrated in November as part of a religious-based giving of thanks in England.
The U.S. Mint released a $1 commemorative Native American coin in 2011. The front side features Sacagawea while the back shows the hands of Supreme Sachem Ousamequin, Massasoit (head chief) of the Great Wampanoag Nation outstretching a peace pipe to Governor John Carver of the Pilgrims.
Good Painter, Bad Researcher
The First Thanksgiving 1621 painting (1899) by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris is one of the most common images used in connection to the event. However, the painting is inaccurate: Pilgrims did not wear the outfits depicted and the Native American garb is of Native Americans from the Great Plains.
Traditional Wampanoag Thanksgiving
A traditional Wampanoag Thanksgiving would last 4 days.