Watch Our Latest Webinar! The History & Mythology of the “First Thanksgiving”

The first Thanksgiving 1621 by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, 1863-1930, artist. Published by the Foundation Press, Inc., c1932. photomechanical print halftone, colour. Pilgrims and Natives gather to share meal. (Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
In advance of Thanksgiving and the holiday season, watch the U.S. Capitol Historical Society’s latest webinar with George Washington University Professor David J. Silverman, the author of one of the most highly cited books on U.S. history: “This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving”

The mythology of the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving continues to be taught in schools and passed down from one generation to the next. But why do some Native people currently hold a Day of Mourning on Thanksgiving? How did the Pilgrims’ voyage to the “New World” become a prominent American origin story? When did the United States first celebrate Thanksgiving and how? And should Americans rethink their interpretation of the holiday?

Our webinar with Prof. Silverman sheds important light on fact vs. fiction as well as the complex relationship between the Wampanoag Indians and Pilgrims, their declared friendship, and the commitment to mutual defense that became a war just one generation after the “First Thanksgiving.”