A Tale of Three Thanksgivings: Toward an Understanding of the Wampanoag National Day of Mourning | Newberry

A Tale of Three Thanksgivings: Toward an Understanding of the Wampanoag National Day of Mourning

Colonial History Lecture Series: David J. Silverman
Saturday, November 3, 2018

10 to 11:30 am

Ruggles Hall

Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Open to the Public
Center for American Indian Studies Programs

View the video recording of this event.

Take a tour of three Thanksgivings, spread across the centuries, that provide windows into why the Wampanoags have hosted a National Day of Mourning for Native America each Thanksgiving holiday since 1970.

This talk will compare the myth of the First Thanksgiving, which rests on friendly Indians welcoming benign colonization, with the Wampanoags’ actual colonial ordeal. That ordeal included betrayal, as Wampanoags themselves framed it, at the hands of the Plymouth colonists with whom they had allied back in 1621, culminating in the terrible King Philip’s War of 1675-76. We will examine how, for Wampanoags, the colonial era extended well beyond that war, even beyond 1776. It involved centuries of fighting for their land, sovereignty, and cultural self-determination against a society determined to rob them of those things. It has lasted to this very day.

Together, we will follow the lead of Frank Wamsutta James, the founder of the National Day of Mourning, to consider whether we, as a nation, can chart a different path, beginning with how we tell the story of Thanksgiving.

Download a PDF flyer for this event, to post and distribute, and check out a Quick Guide to related materials in the Newberry collection.

David J. Silverman is Professor of History at George Washington University. He has written several books on American Indian and colonial American history, including, most recently, Thundersticks: Firearms and the Violent Transformation of Native America, published by the Belknap Press of Harvard University Press in 2016. He is currently writing a Wampanoag-centered history of Plymouth colony and the Thanksgiving holiday for Bloomsbury Press with a working title of No Thanks.

Cosponsored with the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Illinois in partnership with the University of Illinois History Department.

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Cost and Registration Information 

Free and open to the public; registration required. Register online using this link by 8 am Saturday, November 3.

Doors open half an hour before the program begins, with first-come, first-served seating for registered attendees. If seats remain available, non-registered individuals will be permitted to enter about ten minutes before the event’s start.

People with disabilities and other accessibility concerns can request to be seated first. To reserve an access-friendly space in the room, email publicprograms@newberry.org at least 48 hours before the event. Seats arranged in this way will be held until 10 minutes before the event starts.

Questions? Contact us at publicprograms@newberry.org or 312-255-3610.