Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thanksgiving Day (Excerpt from "Columbus Day vs. Indigenous Peoples' Day" Book, Chapter 10)

The same way revisionists play with semantics with Columbus, claiming he did not discover anything because there were people already living in America, so it is with Thanksgiving Day. Revisionists claim that was not the First Thanksgiving because other cultures, including the natives, had some kind of Thanksgiving Day to their deities throughout history. Thanksgiving Day in the USA is not about the first thanksgiving that ever happened in history, but rather, the first thanksgiving made by the Pilgrims when they arrived to America. Maybe what revisionists don’t like is that the Pilgrims gave thanks to the Christian God. 

Another thing revisionists are doing is changing the year that Thanksgiving Day happened so it will coincide with an incident were some natives tribes were massacred in a battle in 1637. Men, women, and children of the Pequot Tribe died, and some were sold as slaves. They want us to think that the battle happened for no reason. According to primary historical source Bradford’s History of the Plymouth Settlement, the Pequots were usurpers of other Indian tribes (page 249). They were “a warlike tribe that had conquered many of its” (Indian) “neighbors” (page 280), and they “openly attacked the English in Connecticut… and killed many of them as they were at work in the fields, both men and women…” (page 283). The Pequots conspired with the Narragansetts to “fire” the colonists “houses, kill their cattle, and lie in ambush for them.” Except the Narragansetts were victims of the Pequots too, and decided to join the colonists instead. All that the English and the Narragansetts did was the exact thing Pequots were planning to do to the colonists in the first place. The Pequot were the bullies. They just got punched back in the nose by their intended victims. The colonists praise God for the victory, as the Pequots would have done, if they had been the victors. Bradford’s History of the Plymouth Settlement, pages 286-288. 

Other revisionists argue that the First Thanksgiving was not in 1621, where they were celebrating eating with the Indians; but in 1623, where the celebration was preceded by fasting and prayer. They claim that 1623 was the “real” Thanksgiving, and 1621 was the “fake” Thanksgiving. They claim that primary source Edward Winslow did not use the word “thanksgiving” for the 1621 “fake” Thanksgiving. The word “First Thanksgiving” was a footnote added later by the book publisher and the name stuck. That is not entirely true. The Winslow account did not use the word “thanksgiving,” but that is exactly what the Pilgrims were doing. 

Winslow said: “Our Corne did proue well, & God be praysed” (praise), “we had a good increafe [sic] of Indian-Corne, and our Barly indifferent good…” Mourt’s Relation or Journal of the Plantation at Plymouth, pages 132-133.

In other words, the Pilgrims were praising God for prosperity, after a hard year of distress. Praising God is a form of thanksgiving. Next Winslow described how they celebrated, which is the part of the story we are all familiar with. In modern English: “Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling,” (hunting) “that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruits of our labor. 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 among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which we 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,” (sounds like he is thanking God again!) “we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”
Mourt’s Relation or Journal of the Plantation at Plymouth. 

Turkeys are mentioned in Bradford’s version of the same story: “And beside water foule, ther [sic] was great store of wild Turkies, of which they tooke many…”
Bradford’s History of the Plimouth Plantation, From the Original Manuscript, page 126.

That was the “fake” Thanksgiving. According to some, the “real” Thanksgiving happened after the Lord answered the Pilgrims prayers for rain. They were struggling with a famine, but the Lord saved them, and William Bradford suggested to “set apart a day of thanksgiving.”
Bradford’s History of the Plimouth Plantation, From the Original Manuscript, Pages 170-171 (footnote).

Since that was the first time the word “thanksgiving” was used in the Pilgrim's accounts, that is the reason some claim today is the “real” Thanksgiving. The fact is both were thanksgivings to God for saving them in times of trouble. We could say 1621 was maybe expontaneous, while 1623 was official. But what do they care about it? They want to replace it with UnThanksgiving Day anyway!

People associate the United States with the Pilgrims which is why Americans in no way will buy into removing or replacing Thanksgiving Day. For some reason, they don’t associate America with Columbus. Probably because it is named “America” and not “Columbus.” 

To conclude this chapter, Thanksgiving Day is about unity, and in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful times of the year. The celebration is quickly followed by Christmas. Both celebrations are rooted in religion, but you don’t have to be religious to enjoy them. Everyone is welcome. Indians were present celebrating with the Pilgrims. That’s why Thanksgiving is a celebration of unity. Yet, we have some ungrateful people out there trying to divide people and some Grinches trying to steal Christmas. There was even a teacher who put some Satanic displays beside some Christmas decorations not that long ago! What a Grinch! Misery loves company!

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#ThanksgivingDay #ColumbusDay 

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Day of the Discovery of Puerto Rico 2018

Today (November 19, 2018) is the Day of the Discovery of Puerto Rico. Christopher Columbus discovered the Island during his second voyage on November 19, 1493. The Indigenous name of the Island was "Boriken," "Boriquen" or "Borinquen." Columbus named it San Juan Bautista in honor of Saint John the Baptist. Borinquen means "the great land of the valiant and noble Lord" or "land of the great lords." Puerto Rico (Rich Port) was the name of the capital, but later the names switched and the Island became known as Puerto Rico, and the capital as  San Juan. Puerto Rico's first governor was Juan Ponce de Leon, who also later discovered Florida and who also went to find the Fountain of Youth in Bimini. The city I was born in Puerto Rico is named after him (Ponce). 

Our Anthem mentions Christopher Columbus by name:

"Cuando a sus playas llegó Colón; exclamó lleno de admiración: ‘¡Oh! ¡Oh! ¡Oh! Esta es la linda tierra que busco yo.’ Es Borinquen la hija, la hija del mar y el sol."

Translation: "When at her beaches Columbus arrived; full of awe he exclaimed: ‘Oh! Oh! Oh! This is the lovely land I was looking for.’ Borinquen is the daughter, the daughter of the sea and the sun."

Here are some excerpts from a primary historical source Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo. The English translation is mine:

"The Indians call Borinquen the Island that the Christians call San Juan (Saint John), which is east of La Hispaniola Island, five or thirty leagues away. Around halfway there is the Island of Mona, around ten and seven degrees of the equinoctial line, to the side of our Arctic pole... There is a lot of fish in it and it has good water; and what they cultivate is the bread of casabe that I mentioned before, which is the bread of the Indians, and maize (corn). There are many good red crabs... 

On the east part, it has many small islands... called Las Islas Vírgines (The Virgin Islands)...  

That Island (Borinquen) is very rich in gold... especially on the north coast... they (the natives) do not differ in anything from the people of La Hispaniola Island as I mentioned, except that these Indians of San Juan are archers and more warlike; but they are naked and they are of the same color and stature...

This Island has, almost in the middle of it... a beautiful Mountain range with many good rivers and waters in many places...

The easternmost river, on the same coast, at the end of the said city, is called Loiza; where a Cacica (a female native Chief) settled and became a Christian and was called Loiza, which the Carib Indians killed...

To the western part of this island, there is a village that is called San German... On the west is Mayaguez... Cabo Rojo... Yauco...

Juan Ponce de Leon... is one of those who passed to these parts with the first Admiral, Christopher Columbus, on the second voyage he made to these Indies... In the time that Juan Ponce governed the Island of San Juan, he built the first town... named Caparra."
Historia General y Natural by Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo, pages 465 to 469.

Image by Jorge Colomer,_Puerto_Rico.jpg


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

"1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus" by Charles Mann- Book Review

I did not like this book. I kept asking myself, what is the point of it? The author has a secular worldview that I don't share. The author claims the Inkas were the biggest empire in 1491 (page 64), which means there was a lot of bloodshed. Though the author tells us some of the war stories from the Inkas, he questioned the veracity of it because it was written by Spaniards (page 69). Yet he is sure the Spaniards were brutal toward Indigenous people, by quoting from the same Spanish sources he believed are not reliable when it comes to the Inkas.

He seems to dismiss the Aztec human sacrifices as the equivalent of the European death penalty (page 120). He mentioned the depopulation of natives by the Spaniards, but he did not mention the Carib tribes were depopulating entire islands in the Caribbean before Columbus' arrival in 1492. 

Like many modern authors, he blamed plagues on Europeans, as if plagues and diseases never existed in the New World before Columbus. He repeated the same cliches about smallpox, but he had to admit syphilis existed before Columbus. However, he makes all these arguments trying to sound objective. 

Like I said in "Columbus Day vs Indigenous Peoples' Day" book, "Are you telling me that Indigenous peoples never experienced plagues, epidemics, diseases, and the like? Really? Remember, some tribes ate poisonous animals, had sex with anything that moved, practiced cannibalism, performed human sacrifices, and none were as technologically advanced in science and medicine as the Europeans, and you are telling me they never experienced disease? No way!"

The author claimed that British vessels may have reached Newfoundland (America) before Columbus (1480)... which also means, they might not have, and didn't! He said that in 1501 Gaspar Corte-Real found items from Venice with some natives, ignoring Europeans had been trading with natives since 1492. The fact still remains that neither England nor Venice did not reach America before Columbus. 

The book later focuses on the scholarly assumptions and theories of different things about the Indigenous people. I think the best books about the Indigenous people of the past, are those written by Columbus and his contemporaries, including Ferdinand Columbus, Las Casas, Gomara, Oviedo, Martyr, Sahagun, etc.