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“Thanksgiving Day”
In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying on board 102 passengers. Of those were assortments of religious secessionists venturing to a new home to freely practice their faith and others lured in by the false promises of prosperity and land ownership of the New World. After an uncomfortable crossing from England, the ship dropped anchor near the edge of Cape Cod, far north from the initial destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. A month later, the Mayflower crossed the Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims, as they are now commonly known, began the establishment of constructing a village at Plymouth.

Throughout the first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious diseases. Consequently, only half of Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March, the remaining settlers moved on ashore, where they received a friendly greeting from an English speaking Abenaki Indian. A few days later, he returned with another Native American who was able to serve as a translator, Tisquantum. He was a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery. Surprisingly, Tisquantum escaped from England and returned to his homeland able to speak English. Once back home, Tisquantum taught the pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract the sap from maple trees, catch fish and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe, which endured for more than fifty years. Presently, the remains of the tribe are an example for the harmony between the European colonists and Native Americans.

After the Pilgrims’ learned to harvest corn effectively, Governor William Bradford organized a feast and invited a group of the colony’s Native American allies,...
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