Most of us were taught the Thanksgiving story about the Pilgrims and the Indians in grade school. However, a significant part of this story was (and still is) left out (intentionally).
The Pilgrims were obviously not the first to arrive in Plymouth, Massachusetts. In 1605 Captain George Weymouth landed there, and captured several Indians (including a young boy named Squanto), and took them to England. Some accounts have Squanto going voluntarily. Regardless, he learned English and returned to the New World with Caption John Smith in 1614. He was subsequently captured (again) by Thomas Hunt, taken to Spain, and sold as a slave.
Here’s where story takes an interesting twist – and God intervenes.
Squanto was rescued by a group of Catholic Dominican Friars, who taught him the gospel of Christ, converting Squanto to Christianity. The Friars eventually (c. 1616) agreed to let him return to America, and sent him to England to journey back there (this is where secular textbooks say “he somehow escaped to England”). He lived in England for a period, where he learned more English (and more about Christ). He was finally was able to return to America in 1619.
When the Pilgrims (who were Christian Puritans fleeing persecution by the Anglican Church England – the textbooks just call them “separatists”) arrived at Plymouth Rock in 1620 they were shocked when they ultimately encountered this Christian Indian speaking perfect English. After nearly dying during the harsh winter, it was Squanto, the Christian Indian, who taught the Pilgrims how to farm – planting corn and other vegetables using fish as fertilizer. The Pilgrim governor William Bradford called Squanto a “spetiall instrument sent of God for their good.”
The Thanksgiving feast with the Pilgrims and Indians we read about in school was actually a meal of Christian Thanksgiving celebration! The deeply devout Puritan Pilgrims (Christians), and Squanto, knew who the thanks was to be given – God. That, and the part about Squanto being a Christian, are the part of the story secular textbooks (and other sources, like the History Channel) won’t tell you about.
Squanto reportedly taught other Indians about Jesus Christ. In 1622, Squanto became sick and on his dying bed reportedly said, he now wished to “go to the Englishmen’s God in Heaven.” My guess is he did.
As Paul Harvey would say – now you know the rest of the story….
Have a blessed Thanksgiving Holiday.
Group Life Deacon