America celebrated the first Thanksgiving 397 years ago at Plimoth Plantation. Although they didn’t call it “Thanksgiving” and had no intention of making it an annual event. The party lasted for three days and included the 50 survivors of the 100 who came over on the Mayflower. By accounts, there were 140 people in attendance, and 90 of them were Native Americans. History records the account of William Bradford, who was there…

“They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty. For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they can be used. And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many.”

Of course, the Indian take on the first Thanksgiving is a bit different. Native Americans say there was an agreement among the Pilgrims and the Indians to watch each other’s back. It was a nervous relationship, but everyone knew they stood a better chance of surviving if they agreed to help the other should the need arise. When the Pilgrims started the celebration they did so by firing their guns and cannons. The Indian Chief armed 90 of his men and sent them over to see what the Pilgrims were shooting at and if help was needed. The Indians camped nearby and hunted with the Pilgrims and no doubt shared a turkey or two. It turned into a Harvest Festival, a celebration of life by Indians and early settlers in what was indeed a land of plenty.