The History and Archaeology of Thanksgiving

On this episode, Chelsi, Kirsten, and Emily chat about the history and archaeology of the Thanksgiving holiday. What was the original harvest celebration all about? Were the Pilgrims an absolute bummer? What are our misconceptions about this holiday? What can archaeology tell us about the relationship between the Pilgrims and indigenous communities? The hosts also discuss the importance of recognizing the colonial and racist roots of Thanksgiving, and how for many modern indigenous communities, the holiday is a Day of Mourning. While enjoying time with one’s family and friends during the holiday, there are a variety of ways to educate each other about the real history of Thanksgiving and to respect and show empathy on the Day of Mourning.


400 Years After the ‘First Thanksgiving,’ the Tribe That Fed the Pilgrims Continues to Fight for Its Land Amid Another Epidemic:

The Myths of the Thanksgiving Story and the Lasting Damage They Imbue:

Everyone’s history matters: The Wampanoag Indian Thanksgiving story deserves to be known:

Before the Pilgrims, Floridians celebrated the ‘real’ first Thanksgiving:

At the Site of the First Thanksgiving:

Thanksgiving at Plimoth Plantation: Kathleen Curtin:

Thanksgiving Mourning: In this activity, students will explore the perspectives of two Native American authors about the meaning of the Thanksgiving holiday and then write journal entries:

Harvest Ceremony – Beyond the Thanksgiving Myth:

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