Thanksgiving: A Native American View by Jacqueline Keeler--Part Four

What did the Europeans give in return? 

Within 20 years European disease and treachery had decimated the Wampanoags. 

By Nikater; adapted to English by Hydrargyrum - Wikimedia Commons

Most diseases then came from animals that Europeans had domesticated. Cowpox from cows led to smallpox, one of the great killers of our people, spread through gifts of blankets used by infected Europeans. 

Some estimate that diseases accounted for a death toll reaching 90 percent in some Native American communities. 

By 1623, Mather the elder, a Pilgrim leader, was giving thanks to his God for destroying the heathen savages to make way "for a better growth," meaning his people. 

Signing the Mayflower Compact 1620, a painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris 1899, from Wikipedia

(see Nov. 17-19 for previous installments of this piece)


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