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Thanksgiving time travel

By Karen Carden / November 21, 2001



Turkey, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. These were the trimmings of the first Thanksgiving, right? Wrong!

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Researchers from National Geographic have teamed with the staff of Plimoth Plantation to give a more accurate view of that Indian and Pilgrim gathering in "1621: A New Look At Thanksgiving."

Every year, Pilmoth Plantation, a popular living museum in Massachusetts, reenacts the gathering in well-documented style. The photos that adorn this book were taken during last year's event, and they will correct some misconceptions.

Thanksgiving wasn't one large meal; it was a series of meals over three days. It wasn't primarily a Pilgrim party, with invitations going to Indians; it was a time of mutual celebration. It wasn't even called Thanksgiving; it was simply a harvest celebration. And Pilgrims weren't calling themselves Pilgrims at that point. This striking book offers a balanced account of what might have occurred in the fall of 1621, an account in which the Wampanoag Indians played a more important role than the myths of succeeding centuries have acknowledged.

Karen Carden reviews children's books for the Monitor.

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