Mount Hope Farm hosts celebration of the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving

East Bay

BRISTOL, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s been 400 years since the first Thanksgiving between colonists and Native Americans was celebrated in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

On Sunday, Mount Hope Farm hosted a celebration of that anniversary, with the Pokanoket Tribe showcasing their traditions, which they say is still just a way of life for them.

The Pokanoket people have been living on this land – Sowams – for ten thousand years.

“We’ve always been here, and we’re still here,” Sachem Dancing Star said.

Their traditions are timeless. They meet on the land at Mount Hope Farm as much as they can. But on this day, there was a glimpse of the traditions that four hundred years ago were likely also a part of the first Thanksgiving.

“Is the history well preserved with how exactly things went on the first Thanksgiving? No.”

But historians and natives do believe the music, basket weaving, and American Wetus were the same. And that Johnny Cakes and succotash were served.

Aside from that, Dave Weed, whose working to educate people on the real history of native people in our area, says the history books stretched the truth a bit over the years.

“Most likely not in November, probably October. That’s when your crops are in, it’s a little cold in November,” Weed said.

You’ve likely only heard Wampanoag as the name of the natives at the first Thanksgiving,

“Because that was the name that began being used in the 1700s after the name Pokanoket was outlawed. If you were Pokanoket, you could be shot on site. But they have since come back. So it’s a story of survival,” Weed said.

Surviving and thriving – attracting hundreds of people form our region, not only to learn about their tribe and Pilgrims, but also as a way for Mount Hope Farm to welcome back the public in a big way since the pandemic began.

“It’s great to be here. It’s really nice to see some Native Americans and all their cool stuff they made,” Harper Kane said.

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