Leave it to MSNBC to try to steal the joy out of Thanksgiving, with a segment aimed at shaming white people for supposedly bringing violence and genocide to the American continent.
GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas called out the leftist network for the divisive on-air essay by Native American author and speaker Gyasi Ross, which aired last week.
“[email protected] corporate message: Thanksgiving sucks,” Cruz tweeted on Sunday. “Come for the lies; stay for the anti-American hate.”
.@msnbc corporate message: Thanksgiving sucks.
Come for the lies; stay for the anti-American hate. https://t.co/MaT5cQaqDy
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 21, 2021
Ross argued in the clip that “the mythology of Thanksgiving closely mirrors the mythology of America.”
“White settlers come to a strange land, in good faith, bringing something of great value that enriches the people who are already here. The natives also bring something of immense value. Equal exchange,” is how Ross described this mythology.
“The truth, of course, of Thanksgiving is much different,” he continues. “The truth is Pilgrims did not bring turkey, sweet potato pie or cranberries to Thanksgiving. They could not. They were broke. They were broken. Their hands were out. They were begging. They brought nothing of value.”
Well, the truth of the matter is the Pilgrims brought plenty to the first thanksgiving and got along with Native Americans quite well.
The two contemporary accounts of the first thanksgiving, which took place 400 years ago this fall, describe it as a celebration that involved both Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe.
By Edward Winslow’s telling, “Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the company almost a week, at which time amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted.”
The Wampanoag “went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our Governor, and upon the Captain and others.
“And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”
Plymouth Colony Gov. William Bradford concurred with Winslow’s account that the Pilgrim’s were well-stocked in the fall in 1621.
“And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides, they had about a peck of meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned but true reports.”
The First Thanksgiving in 1621 celebrated both the Pilgrims’ survival & their friendship with the Wampanoag Indians.
One Mayflower passenger was especially close to the Indians, and was one of only two to have visited the New World before: Stephen Hopkins. pic.twitter.com/VWCh0I2Eee
— Byzantine Emporia (@byzantinemporia) November 26, 2020
That’s not to say relations between the English settlers and Native Americans remained cordial in the decades to come, as more and more Europeans arrived and branched out far beyond Plymouth Colony.
Philip’s War erupted over 50 years after the first thanksgiving as a confederation of natives came together, including the Wampanoags, to oppose the colonists’ movement into their lands.
Of course, that has been the history of the world.
Before the British arrived in Massachusetts, the native tribes fought and killed each other for dominance in the region.
In fact, the Wampanoags signed a peace treaty with the Pilgrims in March 1621 because, by Bradford and Winslow’s account, Massasoit saw “a potent adversary the Narragansetts, that are at war with him, against whom he thinks we may be some strength to him, for our pieces [guns] are terrible to them.”
Ross contended, “Instead of bringing stuffing and biscuits, those settlers brought genocide and violence.”
As noted, violence among Native Americans far pre-dated the arrival of the Europeans.
“Quantitative body counts — such as the proportion of prehistoric skeletons with axe marks and embedded arrowheads or the proportion of men in a contemporary foraging tribe who die at the hands of other men — suggest that pre-state societies were far more violent than our own,” said Harvard University psychologist Steven Pinker at a TED Conference in 2007, during a talk entitled “A History of Violence.”
So white people don’t bear the burden of introducing genocide and violence to North America.
Ross goes on to argue that blacks and natives remain the victims of white violence against them to this day.
“That genocide and violence is still on the menu, as state-sponsored violence against native and black Americans is commonplace. And violent private white supremacy is celebrated and subsidized,” he said.
Ross offered the examples of Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and Ahmaud Arbery.
There is so much that is wrong factually in trying to argue these are instances of white supremacy, but just note that Martin was killed by an Hispanic man and Ross made his remarks before the Arbery trial was even complete.
The author went further off the rails when he claimed there must be reparations paid to blacks for “246 years of stolen labor.”
That’s an apparent reference to the date the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776.
Newsflash: The U.S. fought a Civil War that ended slavery in the southern states over a century-and-a-half ago.
The United States’ record on race has been marred by some significant failures, but it is also marked by many incredible successes, such that people from all over the world by the millions seek to come here each year to take their shot at their own American dream.
Americans of all backgrounds have much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.