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First Thanksgiving: Take 2

by David Yeagley · November 21, 2012 · 25 Comments ·

Were Indians liberal or conservative, back when they welcomed lost, hungry foreigners, and helped them survive their first winter in a “savage land”?

Most native Americans (–I mean people born in this country before 1960) know the story of the Pilgrims and the Indians. The first Thanksgiving story used to be one of the very staples of Americanism. Of course, liberals and academics have chopped that story to pieces like the old turkey itself, stuffed it with political correctness, and even conservatives have retold the story so as defend themselves against any accusation of racism. The story is a premiere example of all this if foolish about American politics and ideological jargon.

But let’s join the fun. Let’s use our imagination. What if the Indians were the protesting liberal hippies the Democrat dreamers want them to be (and pay them to be)?

At the first site of a different race, the Indians would have immediately taken the matter to the government, and to the attorneys, to determine the rights of the illegal immigrants. Financial allotments would have to have been dispersed to cover housing, food, health care, and education. After all, it was indeed a “savage” environment, and these new white people were utterly dependent. This was an exceedingly complex problem, and would need the efforts of many councils, and take many months, even years, to decide. Now, the chief could come and visit, and promise to look after things, or promise that things would be looked after, but the actual provisions would have to be approved of inter-tribal councils. You can’t just jump out there and personally help someone.

Yet, that is exactly what the Indians did. Apparently, it was a spontaneous charity fest. Why, the Indians out-numbered the hand full of white Pilgrims by ’500,000′ to one, demographically speaking. Though the Wampanoag Indians took matters into their own hands, without consulting 500 other Indian nations in the land, they did what apparently most other tribes would have done at the first, innocent encounter with an unknown human species: they were charitable, magnanimous, and willing to share. They had not thought of material equality, in the calculated Communist Democrat sense. Nor did some giant international Indian government order the Wampanoag to. Sharing their substance wasn’t about law, statistics, or political manoeuveres. It was just personal, human care. The local Indians were being good neighbors to strangers. It appears to have been instinctive.


“The First Thanksgiving” (1915), by Jean Louis Gerome Ferris. By 1915, the Americans had touched up the image to make the whites look like the generous entertainers of savage guests. The truth is, the Indians brought all the food. Like, who’s serving whom? But the white had by 1915 earned the right to think well of themselves. What’s a little distortion of the Indian image? Why, the Indian image was already all over American money.

And it appears to have been conservative, in principle. It was not an Indian governmental action which saved the Pilgrims. It was just natural human compassion of local families. It wasn’t ordered, mandated, calculated, or measured. The Indians weren’t looking for votes. There was in fact no benefit expected or desired. Indians just recognized human need. Without prejudice, families helped out other families. The homeland owners helped out the homeless.

(This is the kind of thing going on in the aftermath of Storm Sandy. The only real help is coming from neighbors. The government programs have failed dramatically. Some now greatly fear government programs, as they should.)

The Indians did not know the white man, his ways, or his motives. The white man appeared to be human. That was enough. There were no power grabbers among the Indians who tried to take advantage of the immigrants, or to use them to destroy Indian life and identity. It was an amazingly simple, human encounter. Indians represent humanity at its best, then. “Naked” compassion.

It must have been a glorious moment. Angels must have rejoiced. It was a phenomenon rarely seen in human history.

Today, our American government is so complex and corrupt that the only hope of recovering basic human concepts is through a story like the First Thanksgiving. Humanity shines brightest without government. Yet, when numbers increase, government, or at least serious organization, seems necessary if not inevitable.

The white race could not resist the impetus to prosper. There was absolutely endless land. The Indians, in the beginning, didn’t seem to mind making room for the poor lost strangers. Of course, the Indians had no idea that the few Pilgrims would eventually become 350 million. There was no contemplation of the future.

But this is precisely where conservatism shines today–perceiving the future. Perhaps we can say that Indians were uneducated or incomplete conservatives. They knew how to take care of themselves, and how to be generous to strangers. They simply had no thought that power-mongers would evolve and try to control everyone and everything. That kind of “organization” was unknown to Indians. Though Indian tribes had their disputes, even wars, over this, that, and the other, no tribe ever attempted to lord over another tribe. There were no “imperial” Indians. There was cooperation, such as in the Iroquois Federation; but, those tribes were of a similar “ethnicity.” They never tried to expand and control all the Anishinabe, or the Muskogee, or the plains Indians. There was definitely a profoundly different socio-psychology in the mind of the Indian people. The white man instinctively, if not inevitably, took advantage of that.

And so we have America today. A proud, giant government–which has completely forgotten the human encounter on which is it based, and through deceptive fantasies of philanthropy has become a teetering mass of non-human, inhuman conglomerates, about to crush the spirit of the populace. It’s deepest error is the thought that government can imitate humanity, that bureaucracy can assimilate the heart, that the letter (the law) can express the spirit.

So, what are we thankful for this Thanksgiving, 2012? I’m thankful for American Indians, myself. I can only hope that the American government personnel can remember the First Thanksgiving. (Obviously, my dreams far exceed those of the Democrats.)

Posted by David Yeagley · November 21, 2012 · 12:56 pm CT · ·

Tags: American Indians · American Patriotism · Bad Eagle Journal · Communism · Conservatism · Land · Liberalism · Politics · Race · Thanksgiving · Warriors · White Race




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25 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Thrasymachus // Nov 21, 2012 at 5:56 pm   

    “It must have been a glorious moment. Angels must have rejoiced. It was a phenomenon rarely seen in human history.” — D.Y.

    Yes, the true story is much more appealing — and believable — than the fictitious one of the 1915 painting. It might have been fun at first to meet a tiny group of different-looking human beings, but what is harmless, or even benificial, in small doses can be otherwise in huge quantity. What is a poison in a certain quantity may be a life-restoring medicine in a minuscule one.

    This is THE fundamental mistake of Liberalism. The Liberal sees one example of his philosophy seeming to work out well, and he proceeds to make a univerals rule out of it.

    God bless and keep the American Indian nations!

  • 2 Asaph // Nov 22, 2012 at 8:09 am   

    I must say, there is a strange thing here.

    Most who post here believe in races and cultures and ethnicity staying separate. Yet the first Thanksgiving and early years of the immigrants to this nation are accepted, when, in principle, they should have been put back on the boats and sent away, no?

    If Euro whites coming here is acceptable, why are African blacks not acceptable? Why aren’t Mid-eastern Browns acceptable? And all colors and cultures?

    If it be said that the ultimate Euro white invasion just took over the Indian populace by force, and this is acceptable as an historic fact which panned out into the greatest nation in history, why fear current color invasions which, who knows, may make America better than ever? Certainly Asians seem even more industrious than Euros. They come with nothing and end up owning salons, restaurants, etc. Hispanics are supposedly hard workers taking all the jobs the Euros do not want anymore. Mid-easterners Hindus and Muslims seem to own every single motel from coast to coast, and plenty of convenience stores, too.

    So … which is it? Closed borders, or open ones?

    I am thankful Christ returns soon, because the eggs are so scrambled it is hopeless to address any specific problem man has created for himself, including all his philosophies of how life should go.

  • 3 Asaph // Nov 22, 2012 at 8:10 am   

    What if the Pilgrims landed in Florida? Texas? California? Would the Indian reception have been as gracious?

  • 4 Thrasymachus // Nov 22, 2012 at 9:50 am   

    Asaph,

    You raise some valid points. However, this being the holiday in question, this is perhaps not the best time to go into all these matters.

    To put it bluntly, what happened in the long run to the American Indian nations was most definitely NOT a good thing, from my point of view. The problem lay with religious conflict back in Old Europe. The idiotic wars of religion, in which doctrine was more valued than blood, were the spurs that drove the Puritans to seek a new world. That does not make it RIGHT. It’s just too late to do the right thing about that just now.

    The initial hospitality of the American Indians must be viewed in context. There’s nothing wrong in being a Good Samaritan. But it does not follow that one race displacing another is morally right or desirable. There are winners and there are losers in wars.

    What’s wrong with the current dispossession of White America and Europe is that it is actually a WAR — an undeclared WAR. Nothing like this kind of voluntary surrender to aliens exists in recorded history.

    As to more analysis of this, it will best be on another day. All I can say, Asaph, is that I cannot possibly wrap my mind around the fact that you do not PREFER Whites (assuming that you are of European heritage) to other non-white races. I have always preferred Irish, German (and related nationalities, such as Dutch, Swedish, Danish, etc.), and Celtic-French people and culture to all others. I admire other peoples, but I do not want to assimilate with them, or have them assimilate with me. Asaph, I don’t think that YOU think of your race as an extended family — a people of common origin and destiny. Very strange, because Psychology tells us that the vast majority of human beings do in fact have racial awareness and prefer their own people and culture.

  • 5 Thrasymachus // Nov 22, 2012 at 10:26 am   

    Also this:

    Before the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. King (whose Christianity one can examine here: Was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. a Christian?), in the community where I grew up there were white churches and congregations who explicitly forbade Negroes from attending church with them. Why was that? Were these Christians lost souls? And there were plenty of pastors in the old days who simply would not solemnize a mixed marriage. Were these pastors “wolves in sheep’s clothing,” without a clue as to what their faith was all about?

    ANYWAY, I don’t like to get off on this track.

    Should the American Indians have united and tried to keep Europeans from their shores. Well, they certainly had every good reason to do so. And there were Indians who did resist the invasion. Unfortunately, they were up against technology they were not prepared for.

  • 6 David Yeagley // Nov 22, 2012 at 10:31 am   

    Asaph, no one said anything about “acceptable.” You’re missing the point, as you often do when instinctively arguing with me, your humble host.

    The Indians’ behavior was amicable, not the outcome. Was the behavior the cause of the outcome? No. Was it the door? Yes. Thrasymachus’ first response was perfect. It was what came in afterwards that was eventually detrimental, to Indians.

    Do you think if Indians knew what was coming, they would have welcomed it? I doubt that. It was all a cultural train wreck. Indians didn’t know.

    And I don’t think the Pilgrims came here to take from Indians. They came to get away from Europe. The “unintended consequences” were inimical to Indians, but, I for one cannot blame the Pilgrims, or even Columbus (who, of course, never met an American Indian, only some runaway South American tribes in the Carribean.

    Anyway, race-consciousness is the stuff that causes empires to eventually crumble. People prefer their ethnicity to some international “concept” of existence.

    The odd thing about America is that the imperial concept operates within the borders of one country! It is indeed an odd moment in history, America.

  • 7 David Yeagley // Nov 22, 2012 at 10:38 am   

    If Indians really thought in terms of “race,” like everyone from the old world, they would have ended America before it ever started.

    It was the non-prejudicial disposition that proved our ruin, however.

    And, Asaph, you are quite right to bring up the bit of the landing. What if the Pilgrims landed in Florida?

    Timing is important, too. The Roanoke colony in Virgina displayed some irreligious, undesirable behavior on the part of the secular English. Word gets around among the Indians. The most nasty encounters along the coast, and all the inland tribes got the message. The white man is a taker, nor a sharer.

    Of course, world wide history shows that the American white man has been the most generous human being in world history! Go figure!

    We’re not to judge him by his initial process of establishing his new home (on someone else’s property, and someone else’s expense). He’s a good man, the white man! He has certainly proven himself superior in every way–except presently. Nevertheless, remnants of his grandeur abide still.

  • 8 Asaph // Nov 22, 2012 at 1:25 pm   

    Drama, drama, drama. I do not argue with you, David. I ask questions. Seeing my posts deleted does cause me to wonder if you have a difficult time with people disagreeing with you, though. YOU are the PhD. You should love a decent intellectual challenge without getting your feathers ruffled. What are you, an elitist? ;-)

    That being said, I do not believe my point was answered, really. First, whites that are not influenced by the Spirit of God in some way are no more prone to “good works” that any other humans. Euro culture has basically been influenced by Christianity for 2000 years. The Pilgrims were Christians. What would America have been if the spirit of the Pilgrims remained the dominant influence in America? The current scoundrel as POTUS would not be in office, nor many before him. That proves “white” people are no more intelligent or better than anybody else. Especially is that the case with Liberals who seem void of any common sense at all.

    Like I say, the eggs are scrambled. God moved upon the founding of this nation, but the lamb soon becomes a total dragon. And whites shall be behind most of the fire it shall breathe.

    Thras, I am of total French heritage. But I have no particular affinity for the French culture, though I have pondered it from certain personal aspects.

    I’m an American. As a Christian I just see all humans as equal, and if anyone of any color or culture wants to adopt the American culture, come on in. The problem, it seems to me, rises from those who are now coming here who do not want to adopt the American culture, but saturate with the cultures of their homelands.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all. We still have things to be thankful for. This may be one of the last Thanksgivings we observe. Who knows?

    Enjoy it, one and all.

  • 9 Thrasymachus // Nov 22, 2012 at 2:02 pm   

    Astonishing, Asaph.

    I am partly of Celtic-French heritage, and I speak and write French fluently. I was attracted to the language and the culture when I was a little boy, and no one influenced me in that direction. No one else in my family has any knowledge of the French language or culture. I watch French movies and read French literature.

    I am astonished that anyone could disown his heritage in the name of Christianity.

    My heritage is Celtic-French, English, German, and Scottish — though not all in equal proportion.

    By the way, Jews have the highest average intelligence (although this has been disputed), Asians are next, certain European nations are roughly equal to Asians, and other races are at the bottom. Scientific testing over hundreds of years have consistently given the same results in Intelligence testing. There are other aspects, such as creativity, which also differ by race. American Indians are, in my opinion, a branch of the Asian race.

    Japan is not a Christian nation and never has been, yet Christianity has not made Whites more intelligent than the people of Japan. Japan was struck by devasation, just as Haiti was. Yet Japan rebuilt itself, and Haiti is a garbage dump. Hatian Negroes are not of equal intelligence to the Japanese. Sorry to burst your bubble.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, everyone.

    Anyw

  • 10 Thrasymachus // Nov 22, 2012 at 2:15 pm   

    A Thanksgiving gift for all — and especially for Asaph:

    La Nuit.

  • 11 David Yeagley // Nov 22, 2012 at 6:58 pm   

    Asaph, do you want to be a man without a race, without a country, and without a church? Are you truly averse to any group identity? Will you not belong? or not commit? It seems not to be part you, not something you value or want.

    Maybe that’s why you think like you do, and say what you say. You have no sense or value in being part of a group, hardly even with one other person. You’re just completely independent.

    That makes it very unlikely that there can be any purpose or advantage in trying to address anything you say that stems from this independent impetus. Furthermore, you directly disparage anything anyone says that bespeaks intentional common human bonding. That must mean that you don’t really seek it.

    If that’s you, that’s fine. But, it makes it seem futile to re-address anything you disagree with, or your disagreements thereof, specifically. No one can change that independent impetus in you. They shouldn’t try, either, should they?

    All I can try to do is to seek clarity in my own expressions. If you obfuscate that for others, or misdirect the line of thought, then you’ve presented me a serious problem, because this is a public matter. I am the host of this enterprise. I can’t change you, so I am left to ty and protect my own expressions of thought. Disagreeing with me is not the same as overturning or criticizing or condemning thoughts presented. Not in my book, anyway.

    When you superficially contradict what I have belaboured to make clear, when you just throw mud on a sincere effort I’ve made, I may respond now and then, yes. I have only so much patience.

    I think what you’re doing is simply trying to say what you want to say, whether it is relevant, pertinent, or even appropriate. But this is a public forum. “Public” means others are watching–all of us. I don’t really use my site as a debate arena. Never have. I’ve never really debated anyone. I value my own thoughts a bit too much, perhaps. Being on a church board is enough for me. Being responsible member of a group takes serious humility (never my strong point, as you know, certainly). But this is part of why I value group identity.

    One other thing. You occasionally use our long friendship as though it were some kind of weight in your argument. That doesn’t work in an intellectual exchange, or in a public situation. I don’t think, anyway. It is not about rank, or authority. Personality has nothing to do with the essence of ideas. What you do is called “argumentum ad hominem.” Addressing the person, rather than the ideas. I’ve never done that with you. You shouldn’t do it with me.

    I’m not here to denigrate my friends and commentators. I would think they would not come here to attempt to denigrate me. I don’t pull rank through education or professional experience, not in a person to person encounter. That’s not what education is for. But people with extensive education may (I hope) approach a discussion somewhat differently.

    I haven’t shown much respect for the people I’ve targeted in blogs. Perhaps it is to much to expect any respect for myself. They say what goes around comes around.

  • 12 johnnymac // Nov 22, 2012 at 7:22 pm   

    As I see it Indians in America were a largely unchanged neo-Lithic culture of hunter-gatherers who met a civilization far advanced in every way as if to have come from another planet. The Europeans who left the Old World were leaving because of many things, primarily what they saw as cultural and religious persecution yet could not leave behind the inclination to foster the systems of authority and governance they were fleeing. An irony to be sure. However I’m not an academic, I can only offer a layman’s opinion. In any event, a Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

  • 13 David Yeagley // Nov 22, 2012 at 7:38 pm   

    Layman’s opinions are often where the truth really is. I know that. Believe me. I often wonder about the difference between debate, discussion, sharing ideas, and persuasion. Which of these is the most valuable?

    My doctoral composition teacher taught us, “Never mind your wondrous theories. If the people didn’t like your work, you failed.”

    This he said of a fairly educated audience! Group consciousness is something precious, I think. But concentrated thought tends to separate itself.

    So, how does one think without illusion of propriety? This is almost as if to say thinking doesn’t particularly or certainly not necessarily lead to the truth at all. That can’t be, can it?

  • 14 Sioux // Nov 22, 2012 at 10:39 pm   

    Greetings and Gracious Salutations to all my fellow human beings on Thanksgiving 2012. I have had family with me all week, so have been offline.

    Great post, Dr. Y and good questions and ponderings. Am I a victim of a poor historical education? YES! I was taught that the first Pilgrims were greeted by at least one Indian (Squanto) who had lived in Engand and returned to northeast America knowing how to speak English and was learned in English ways?

    Also, didn’t Indian people in those early days believe that no one owned the land – that it was there for all to travel on and enjoy the resources?

    Also, how in the world did those Pilgrim women keep their white aprons so whitey white??? Amazing!

  • 15 johnnymac // Nov 22, 2012 at 10:51 pm   

    A very humble ”thank you” Doctor. And many happy returns of the day to you as well Sioux. Yeah, how did those Pilgrim women get those aprons so white? Bleach? Nah, couldn’t have been. Wasn’t invented yet. That is a question for books…. :-)

  • 16 David Yeagley // Nov 22, 2012 at 10:54 pm   

    It’s all about the myth of good will, no? Why, a most, if not the most, functional American story. White conservatives usually don’t like talking about it much, because it destroys their narrative. I say it doesn’t have to. If everyone’s so willing to play with the story, then they should take my version and run with it! Should make everyone happy.

    I’m trying to create a path through it that will make Indians feel less negative about what’s happened. That’s all. I don’t find negative thinking helpful. This is why I don’t understand why so many white people want to think negatively about the white race.

    Can they afford it, since they conquered all? Is that is? They can afford to chastise themselves?

    Nah. That’s what warriors do when they’re not fighting their enemies. They beat themselves. I just don’t want to see the conqueror beat himself. Especially when he really doesn’t mean it.

    That’s weird, at least from an Indian warrior point of view.

  • 17 Sioux // Nov 22, 2012 at 11:29 pm   

    Lord knows I have done my share of self-chastising, but for my own stupidity. I used to berate “my people” when I was a Lib living in a Lib college town surrounded by Lib friends and coworkers who were living the Zinn fable. We do this chastising now at our own peril…we have given our enemies too much ammo. What was gained is easily lost if you aren’t willing to defend it.

    I think the Indian people who met the first Pilgrims felt both pity/sympathy and maybe a bit of admiration for the bravery it took to come to the new world in little wood ships. Of course, the Pilgrims faced death if they remained in Europe as heretics. Dangerous time led to extreme solutions. Tough people back then, both Indians and white settlers alike. Doubt that many of us would make it a year (or a week) if we were plunked back down in those times without the kindness of strangers.

  • 18 whitetrash // Nov 23, 2012 at 10:06 am   

    “I value my own thoughts a bit too much, perhaps”

    There is a big difference between that, and biting hard on any thought that is in agreement with what you want to hear. Trusting your own mind is the first step to rational inquiry.

    That’s what I appreciate about you, Doc. I may not always, or even often agree with you, but I admire the original thought behind your advocacy.

  • 19 David Yeagley // Nov 23, 2012 at 11:28 am   

    Ah, WhiteTrash, at last!

    Ralph Waldo Emerson said (in “Self-Reliance”), “Trust thyself. Every heart vibrates to that iron string.”

    I read that at 17. Most personally encouraging thing I ever read, in a secular sense. All artistic people live by this. We have to. Is it moral? That’s another question. Does it work in discussion, or politics? Don’t know.

    Much later, in graduate school, I remember learning the idea that what is most personal is most universal. I think that’s a rehash of Emerson, actually.

  • 20 Bonus Gift // Nov 23, 2012 at 12:34 pm   

    DY:
    Thanks for the insights and forum to discuss the times and topics as you see fit. Happy Thanksgiving to DY and to all who put effort and heartfelt thought into their comments.
    Existentially, I for one am acutely aware that without that physical place called America I would not exist, and for that I am thankful. Incidentally, I do feel that it would be sinful to waste such a truly noble effort that our forefathers put forth; that is, to surrender it to what I feel is very close to pure evil would be tantamount to committing a sin of omission, if not commission.

  • 21 Thrasymachus // Nov 23, 2012 at 4:35 pm   

    Trusting yourself is essential to the arts. It makrs the difference between art and pure science.

    Why so many musical performers are on drugs is because on one occasion they are praised to the skies and on the next their efforts are consigned to hell itself. One cannot trust the opinions of others in art. The true artist knows whether he has done quality work or has fallen short. Always. If he’s honest with himself, he knows.

    The quote about the most personal is the most universal also resonates with the Yin/Yang concept. :)

  • 22 David Yeagley // Nov 23, 2012 at 7:11 pm   

    Asaph happens to be completely artistic in nature, but has never any any training. He also has a very fine, native ability to think, but again, no training.

    In the end, I don’t know if training or non-training have anything to do with finding the truth, the eternal verities. I don’t know. It’s usually associate with some kind of “discipleship.” Apprenticeship.

    But, training is training, and cannot be dismissed a priori. It might not be exactly relevant to the truth, in the eternal sense, but, somehow, I think it is. The difference between training and native ability has more to do with perspective and reference, more than anything else.

    Asaph, our friend Phil is very much of the same order. Probably Rick as well. You are the only one who takes the internet seriously, however!

  • 23 Bonus Gift // Nov 24, 2012 at 1:04 am   

    In the literature on, for example, learning, much of the relevant literature seems to be on repetitive tasks. Training seems to be most directly applicable to repetitive tasks, whereas non-repetitive and/or unique tasks seem more difficult to apply training directly. In a sense, non-repetitive and non-clearly defined tasks are more loosely connected to training. In short, training is useful in virtually any and all contexts, although the kinds of topics and discussion generated on DY’s website may not be so obvious as to the usefulness of a trained mind. I suspect that the individual in question is, whether knowingly or not, using the website to help in this regard and that is why he or she keeps coming back and arguing out of what seems to me to be a form of spite.

  • 24 Mjazz // Nov 24, 2012 at 5:03 am   

    Of course, the Indians had no idea that the few Pilgrims would eventually become 350 million.

    Of course, the Americans had no idea that the few muhammadans would eventually become 350 million.
    The Marxists did though.

  • 25 David Yeagley // Nov 24, 2012 at 7:06 pm   

    Good one, MJ! The womb is the main weapon of Muslims. Gadaffi said so, publicly.

    Win by numbers. Anti-Darwin theory. Survival–not of the fittest, but by the most numerous.

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