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Ask the Pastor 82

Was the first Thanksgiving a celebration of a massacre of Native Americans?

This is a question related to revisionist history, there are those who are seeking to revise history to portray the European white people as being hostile murderers. To say that the first Thanksgiving was a celebration by the Puritans after a massacre of Native Americans is based upon two false presuppositions. The first one being that the Puritans were vicious murderers of the native peoples. The second one being that the “Native Americans” (there is no such thing as a native American, ancient peoples migrated from the cradle of civilization, see Genesis 10,11) were peaceful, loving sweethearts who were just minding their own business when these terrible white people showed up. In fact, the Puritans were Bible believing men and women who were seeking religious freedom and the opportunity to create a society where the principles of the Bible would be lived out in that society. For over 400 years of American history, it has been held that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the surviving pilgrims in the Fall of 1621 as a celebration of thanksgiving to the Lord God for their harvest, as recorded in the journal of William Bradford and a publication by Edward Winslow, two actual eyewitnesses of the event. It is true that there were struggles between White Europeans and American Indians because many of the Indian tribes were warriors and fought and killed other Indians until they could turn their attention to the white invaders. Much of the American Indian’s customs and folklore involve warfare, killing, torture and enslaving their enemies. In fact, the first Thanksgiving was a feast held with Indians as welcome guest. Let us therefore, not abandon our custom and holiday of giving thanks to the Lord our God and remember that the best way to unite together is as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Have questions about the Bible? Send them to Dr. Greg Koehn at and read the answer here in this article. See my blog at

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