Re: Lydia Brimelow's Introducing VDARE’s 1620 Society
From: Spirit Of The Fighting 69th [Email him]
I was pleased to see Ann Coulter quote Francis Parkman on the habits of the American Indian in her Thanksgiving essay, “Have a Historically Accurate Thanksgiving!” Parkman’s multi-volume history of the French & Indian Wars, France and England in North America is the most comprehensive work on the subject; magnificent as history and literature, its eloquence and accuracy infuriate the left.
Director Bruce Beresford’s majestic film, Black Robe depicting a fictional Jesuit mission to the Huron in 17th century French Canada draws heavily from Parkman’s The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century. Filmed in Canada as the seasons changed it is a masterpiece of nature photography as well. Adding interest was Beresford’s casting actual Indians, notably August Schellenberg as Chomina, the mission’s Algonquin guide.
The film does not shrink from showing Indian barbarism. In an early scene a middle-aged French priest is saying Mass, his middle two fingers cut off by the Indians he still desires to return to New France to bring the word of Christ. As he prepares to depart the young priest’s mother says, “I do not think I shall ever see you again.” In a later scene when the party has been captured by Iroquois who plan to murder them, the young priest has a finger joint cut off with a clamshell by an Iroquois, yet does not flinch, singing to show his imperviousness to pain. After escaping, the priest says to Chomina, “But you’re not like that” and Chomina replies, “Yes we are,” knowing the savage lurking within.
But to return to Thanksgiving, Coulter inspired me to search my shelves and pull down Governor William Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647 his history of the Plymouth colony’s struggle for existence in a land as teeming with game as it was with danger. In writing of their struggle over famine the first Thanksgiving, surprisingly, rates only one small paragraph a portion of which follows:
....And besides waterfowl there was a great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc....many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, where were not feigned but true reports.”
One of those letters, by Edward Winslow, along with describing the feast recalls their Indian guests:
...amongst the rest [of the Indians] their greatest king, Massasoit [King of the Wampanoags] with some 90 men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted. And they went out and killed five deer which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our Governor and upon the Captain and others.” [PDF]
No account of Thanksgiving would be complete without our old friend Squanto, who legend has it, taught them how to plant corn. Squanto, his tribe having been wiped out by disease three years before the Pilgrims landed, spent the rest of his life with them. Squanto, however, was not above pulling a fast one on other Indians. When he tried it on Massasoit, a livid Massasoit wanted to wring his neck, but another incident arose, Squanto narrowly escaping “Indian justice”. It will be a shock to the left to learn that Indians too were protected by English law as when the Pilgrims hanged three Englishmen for murdering an Indian. When researching my thesis I came across other instances of Indians protected by law in the Massachusetts Bay Colony records. The Pilgrims would remain at peace with the Wampanoags until the unfortunate incidents that led to King Philip’s War in 1675, but that is another story.
Reflecting on Thanksgiving, Americans need to remember that this country was self-governing from the start, that by Independence Americans had been governing themselves for a century and a half. With the accession of Biden and his statist comrades, we just might lose that inheritance.
See earlier letters from the same reader.