An excerpt from the recent book by Michael Parenti, Profit Pathology and Other Indecencies for your Thanksgiving consideration:
The lives of indigenous peoples in North America (“Indians”) — from quality of diet and medicine to individual freedom—were superior to the pinched, unwashed, dour lives transported from Christianized England. The Europeans were far more practiced than the “Indians” in dealing with syphilis, gonorrhea, small pox, typhoid, and bubonic plague, not to mention hangings, slavery, prostitution, religious wars, witch hunts, and inquisitions. European superiority registered in a few devilishly crucial areas, specifically the technologies of firearms, armor, and oceanic transport. The Native Americans had no desire to embrace the religiously oppressive, mean-spirited, acquisitive life of the colonizers. They lived comfortably free from any ruinous impulse for massive wealth accumulation. Labeled as “savage beasts” by the invaders, they actually behaved in courteous and kindly ways—that is, until they realized what they were up against. . . .
“The first historical gathering between the Indians and the Pilgrims occurred in 1621. By 1622, the book “Mourt’s Relation” records a rich compendium of Pilgrim life which includes a visit from the Massisoit, Ousa Mequin, of the Pokanokets then having difficulties with the neighboring Narragansetts.
However, the harsh winter caused the Pilgrims to rob winter corn stores and take Indian grave goods that provoked hostilities; and in 1623, Captain Myles Standish chopped off the head of a local sachem and posted the first Indian head at Plymouth as a warning to others. The colonists received his head “with joy.” Thus, the much noted first “Thanksgiving” of 1621 must be contextualized.”