Are you beginning to understand just how much is left out of our histories? From early childhood, we are taught about this brave group of individuals who courageously set out to find a new life for themselves in the “New World.” A life where they could be free to worship and live as they chose…and when they got here they had to labor and toil day and night in the midst of an inhospitable and unfamiliar land. Luckily, however, the kindly natives befriended them and helped them survive their first winter here in their new home. And when harvest time came the following year, they all sat down together at the table of brotherhood holding hands, enjoying the fruits of their labor and singing Kum Ba Yah….Does this sound about right? The Pilgrims… a small group of people we thought were seeking religious freedom when they came to this country…we thought they were simply an example of moral, upstanding, Christian leaders responsible for much of the foundational ten- ants which lay at the core of this country… or were they? What have you learned about this group of people now that you’ve read Loewen’s chapter? Some of the issues I find interesting about this group: • They were not seeking religious freedom when they came, they had already found it…in the Netherlands. • They may have hijacked the Mayflower…and in today’s language, what do we usually call a group of people who hijack a ship or plane? • When they got here, they did not have to “tame” the wilderness…where did they actually settle? In Squanto’s old village. The homes were already built, crops planted… • When they got here what did they do immediately? Begin looking for gold…. • And they looked in some of the most interesting places…like graves. • Because they began immediately looking for gold and not preparing themselves for the months ahead they get themselves in a predicament…and many resort to cannibalism….yes, cannibalism . Many of us remember the Thanksgiving plays we participated in as children in elementary school…where we made the construction paper hats with the big buckles and buckles for our shoes, or the construction paper feather head- dresses…or how we would trace the outline of our hand onto our drawing paper with our crayons and magically it would morph itself into a turkey…we spend much, much time and energy on this “creation” story…. Shouldn’t we include some smallpox ravaged natives, complete with blistering pustules, to represent the 90% of the entire Native American population (in the North and South American continents) wiped out by disease? After all, this is part of the Pilgrims’ story isn’t it? Shouldn’t we include the story of Metacom’s War (named after the son of the original Native American leader who helped the Pilgrims) and all of the ghastly things done to Metacom? His being drawn and quartered by the Pilgrims, them cutting off his hands and putting them on display in Boston, and removing his head and taking it back to Plymouth to mount it atop a big, long stick in the middle of town square where it would remain on display for 25 years? I kid you not…. Should we not include slavery? As the Puritans were one of the main North American contributors to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade-an institution responsible for the loss of 50 million people from Africa through enslavement and death? Why do we spend so much time on this group of people in school? Perhaps even more importantly, why do we spend so much time on this Disney-esque version of the Pilgrims? What purpose, what lesson, do you believe studying the Pilgrims in this way serves?