1621 A New Look at Thanksgiving

1621, A New Look at Thanksgiving                                                                                                                                 

Written by Catherine O’Neill Grace and

Margaret M. Bruchac

Plimouth Plantation photographs by

Sisse Brimberg and

Cotton Coulson


For centuries the Wampanoag people, or “People of the Dawn” lived not “on” the land, but “with” it, preserving their bountiful natural resources for “seven generations.” Over time, foreign explorers visited their shores, often kidnapping Native people as slaves or curiosities to be shown in royal courts. This book presents a new way of thinking about the American Thanksgiving. It focuses on the year 1621, the autumn after the colonists’ first dreadful winter, but also gives readers the equal point of view of life in a Wampanoag village. When the Mayflower colonists stumbled into Wampanoag territory, their numbers had plummeted to only 52. They assumed the land was empty and that was further reinforced by accidentally landing in Patuxet, once a village, but now decimated by the plague and therefore abandoned by the Wampanoags.


This book asks readers to rethink assumptions about how the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag interacted. It is based on the research done in conjunction with scholars from the living history museum of Plimouth Plantation in Plymouth, MA. where devoted reenactors present a look at life for both the Wampanoags and the Pilgrims. Highly recommended for grades 4 and up.

2 comments for “1621 A New Look at Thanksgiving

  1. November 30, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Excellent and important post! Thank you, Linda.

  2. December 1, 2017 at 8:09 am

    Thank you, Nancy. This book should be in every school.

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