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Comments by James Davis - 13 Nov 2005

In Reference to: The First Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Dear Mr. Berry,

Being a vegan, I certainly appreciate your enthusiasm for exposing
Thanksgiving as a ploy of peace during the civil war. But the idea that
the meal should have never and didn't ever include turkey on the menu
is historically inaccurate.

I have been researching the original Thanksgiving celebration to
provide for the children and families at my Montessori school a true
Thanksgiving. I was interested to learn more about the history of
Thanksgiving and to know that the original Thanksgiving was only
celebrated once and then not celebrated again until a woman wrote a
letter to Abe Lincoln suggesting a "day of Thanksgiving to god for
protection during the war" be established. He did then establish a
day (the last Thursday of the month of November) of Thanksgiving to
correspond with the landing of the Mayflower II of Cape Cod. It was
not made a national holiday until the 1940's when it was changed to the
fourth Thursday to give space between the Christmas holiday and
Thanksgiving for business reasons. I am getting way off the track,
but thought you should know what the origin of this holiday is.

From reading first hand accounts of the first thanksgiving, which by
the way was never celebrated in 1620 because by the time the pilgrims
landed it was well into November which was after the annual Wampanoag harvest celebration, as well as the first-hand accounts of the landing of the Mayflower, you will learn something very different from what you have led yourself to believe. The main tribe present were the Wampanaog who had been fishing and hunting for a long time.

There were native creatures which were killed for their flesh and pelts such as venison, wild turkeys, sea creatures and water fowl.

You are correct when you mention the Pilgrims did not prepare a spread
rather it was prepared together using English and Native American
cooking techniques. Although your claim that the pilgrims had no
agriculture skills may be true (I have not heard either way), the
celebration they shared with the Wampanoag was one of harvest, a
harvest they had made together using the native American's gardening
skills. By the way, the legend/myth of popcorn being present is
incorrect because the corn needed for popping is not indigenous to
Virginia. Squanto, by the way, is a myth. He and his people were
captured by the group that came before the pilgrims and sold to slavery
in Europe.

The idea that we need not use turkeys for our thanksgiving meal now is
a nice one. Although I wish more people like you and myself would do a little research before celebrating such a superficial holiday, turkey
was part of the first Thanksgiving feast, the human species is omnivorous, and therefore does have a place on the Thanksgiving table.

I feel ill when thinking about the way meat and food in general is mass
produced and believe that if people want to eat meat they should catch
it themselves; but that is another topic for another day....

I am interested to know more about the research you did for your
website and would love some references to use in my pursuit of the
truth. I am a little unnerved that someone in your position has
printed something that is semi-inflammatory since it is websites like
yours that can leave a lasting impression on the way the public in
general view vegetarians and or vegans. Thank you for your passion and in-site. I have done a search for you and know what your profession is, but no one person can be the last word on any subject and shouldn't pretend to know everything. That is why I look forward to hearing from you....

Respectfully yours,

James Davis

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