This Thanksgiving was probably the coolest I’ve ever had (and I’ve had some pretty good ones).
My sister Tracy was in town from Denver and we thought it’d be fun to go to Plymouth, Mass to see the “rock” and the “mayflower” and all that kind of touristy stuff… and maybe to find someplace that was open for dinner so we wouldn’t have to cook.
It took us only about an hour to get from here to Plymouth.
Of course, Justin & I woke up late and so it took us a little while to pull it together and get out of the house. But it was all good because it was warm and sunny… probably in the high 60s and that was a welcomed relief from the sub-freezing temperatures we’ve been enduring for the greater portion of the last several days.
So we get to Plymouth around 1:30ish. We go to the Mayflower replica and marvel at how anyone could possibly have made it across the Atlantic in such a vessel. And where did they put the slaves, anyway?
Justin informed me that there weren’t any slaves on the Mayflower… it was a bit early for the slave trade to be in full swing in what was to become the United States.
We dawdled around a bit trying to figure if it was worth $9 each to be fed a bunch of lies about the roots of America and Justin & I decided we’d rather not go onto the boat. It was cool to see, but it wasn’t even the real boat and besides it was pretty much a sea of fannypacks and visors bobbing around reading plaques and historical rhetoric. Tracy didn’t feel like she needed to join the madness, so we three headed towards “the rock.”
On our way we stopped into a gift shop and I was contemplating on getting some Vermont Maple Syrup when I heard the glorious sounds of protest as a sea of like minds carpeted the street with hoots and flagwaving.
It was the Natives. They were holding a protest about what Plymouth Rock stands for in general and the lies American History Books promote and propagate. Later, they invited anyone and everyone to join them for dinner at the First Church of Plymouth, just up the hill.
So we did.
When discussing the story we recognized that it might be taken as ironic that the Native Americans were protesting the stone and then fed everybody in a traditional Thanksgiving manner, but it wasn’t really like that at all. They weren’t complaining about the stone, they were simply making note that the stone, like our history of Native Americans being “savages,” is a lie and that lie is guarded with a tombed structure. They resent the idea of mocking sacred dance and dress as baseball mascots and discussed freely the methods in which the Natives are isolated and subjugated through media and demoralization of ancient rituals through said mockery.
And they are right.
But what they really wanted to talk about was that Natives come in all kinds of colors, shapes and sizes – that they might not all have high cheekbones and almond eyes – there is no certain look to Native Americans of New England because their progeny was created through many kinds of mixing: Some natives mixed with African slaves; some with pilgrims, and later some of this offspring chose other ethnic backgrounds for which to procreate. And so on.
What they wanted to do was remind the tourists that many Natives were (and remain to be) kind and gracious people, willing to help. If it weren’t for the Native Americans teaching the Pilgrims how to grow corn and fish eel, they would have starved to death within the first couple years.
Anyway, after we ate with 300 fellow Native and neo-Native Americans we went up the hill to the graveyard for an after dinner stroll…
It was such a lovely day and I am so grateful I could spend it with people I love. Or at least 300 of them.