I have a collection of native American speeches which helps to explain the failure of native Americans to unite against the European invaders who would ultimately annihilate the vast majority of their population. It’s important to understand that some native Americans did not perceive the Europeans as a homogeneous group. British, French, and colonists all vied for alliances with the natives. Different groups allied with different Europeans; this not only prevented native Americans from uniting against the scourge, but I imagine that because Europeans were likely less apt to tell one native American from another, likely contributed to an image of native American treachery.
The first of these speeches was given by Acuera, the Timucua chief, circa 1540:
Others of your accursed race have, in years past, poisoned our peaceful shores. They have taught me what you are. What is your employment? To wander about like vagabonds from land to land, to rob the poor, to betray the confiding, to murder in cold blood the defenceless. No! with such a people I want no peace–no friendship. War, never-ending war, exterminating war, is all the boon I ask.
You boast yourselves valiant, and so you may be; but my faithful warriors are not less brave, and this too you shall one day prove; for I have sworn to maintain an unsparing conflict while one white man remains in my borders–not only in battle, though even thus we fear not to meet you, but by strategem, ambush, and midnight surprisal.
I am king in my own land, and will never become the vassal of a mortal like myself. Vile and pusillanimous is he who will submit to the yoke of another when he may be free. As for me and my people, we choose death–yes! a hundred deaths–before the loss of our liberty and the subjugation of our country.
Keep on robbers and traitors: in Acuera and Apalachee we will treat you as you deserve. Every captive will we quarter and hang up to the highest tree along the road.
Now comes this on, of all places, FreeRepublic, a conservative blog:
Origin of Thanksgiving Holiday
Source: Univ of Connecticut Anthropology Dept
Author: William B. Newell (Penobscot Tribe)
Posted on 11/22/2000 10:23:07 PST by waonkon
The year was 1637…..700 men, women and children of the Pequot Tribe, gathered for their “Annual Green Corn Dance” in the area that is now known as Groton, Conn.
While they were gathered in this place of meeting, they were surrounded and attacked by mercernaries of the English and Dutch. The Indians were ordered from the building and as they came forth, they were shot down. The rest were burned alive in the building.
The next day, the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared : “A day of Thanksgiving, thanking God that they had eliminated over 700 men, women and children.
For the next 100 years, every “Thanksgiving Day” ordained by a Governor or President was to honor that victory, thanking God that the battle had been won.
Source: Documents of Holland, 13 Volume Colonial Documentary. History, letters and reports from colonial officials to their superiors and the King in England and the private papers of Sir William Johnson, Britsh Indian agent for the New York colony for 30 years.
Researched by William B. Newell (Penobscot Tribe)
Former Chairman of the University of Connecticut Anthropology Department.