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History As It Happens

Nov 25, 2021

Is there an American origin story than evokes more good feelings than the first Thanksgiving? Pilgrims and Indians, having survived a harsh winter, sitting around the table, the cornucopia, and peace and harmony at Plymouth Rock. The story taught to every American school kid is a myth that obscures the nastiness of colonialism and portrays Native Americans as passive players in a sugar-coated version of the past. In this episode, historian David Silverman discusses the significance of that small feast in 1621 -- and how it became linked to the Thanksgiving holiday two centuries later -- and why relations between European settlers and native peoples disintegrated into a "bloody, complex, colonial process" with atrocities committed by all sides.