For “Thanksgiving Day”, we are treated to Norman Rockwell paintings of Pilgrims sharing their harvest with Native Americans, and grandparents serving turkey at a family dinner. However, the article Thanksgiving Dinner: History Designed It says
there was no original Thanksgiving. “It’s a nice myth that was created in 1841.” Lincoln created the holiday in 1863 to unify the country during the Civil War.
The True Story Of Thanksgiving by Richard Greener explains:
"The idea of the American Thanksgiving is a fairly recent fiction. nice myth that was created in 1841. The idyllic partnership of 17th Century European Pilgrims and New England Indians sharing a celebratory meal appears to be less than 120 years old. And it was only after the First World War that a version of such a Puritan-Indian partnership took hold in elementary schools across the American landscape.
We can thank the invention of textbooks and their mass purchase by public schools for embedding this "Thanksgiving" image in our modern minds. It was, of course, a complete invention, a cleverly-created slice of cultural propaganda, just another in a long line of inspired nationalistic myths.
The first Thanksgiving Day did occur in the year 1637, but it was nothing like our Thanksgiving today. On that day, the Massachusetts Colony Governor, John Winthrop, proclaimed such a "Thanksgiving" to celebrate the safe return of a band of heavily-armed hunters, all colonial vounteers. They had just returned from their journey to what is now Mystic, Connecticut where they massacred 700 Pequot Indians. Seven hundred Indians -- men, women, and children -- all lmurdered.
This is still remembered today, 373 years later. No, it's been long forgotten by white people, by European Christians. But it is still fresh in the mind of many Indians. A group calling themselves the United American Indians of New England meet each year at Plymouth Rock on Cole's Hill for what they say is a Day of Mourning. They gather at the feet of a stature of Chief Massasoit of the Wampanoag to remember the long gone Pequot.
Did the Pilgrims share their Thanksgiving meal with the local Indians, the Wampanoag and Pequot? No. That never happened. That is, until its inclusion in the "Thanksgiving Story" in 1890."