(Above) The typical image of the idealized “First Thanksgiving”. A 1914 painting by the English artist Jennie A. Brownscombe. Here the artist used one of the traditional painting and advertising compositional formulas in which figures of primary importance are made the largest and placed in the foreground; secondary figures are smaller and placed in the middle ground; figures of less importance are placed in the background. All figures, except the mother, bow or face towards the standing religious person. The artist’s depiction of a Madonna and Christ-like image of a child in a cradle in the foreground of the composition may portray the artist’s suggestion of a birth of a new nation. Also, notice the symbolism of subservience and religious overtones in the middle and backgrounds. The Indians at the table have Plains headdress not Wampanoag regalia.
At the ending of National Native American Month, why should we thank an Indigenous American? Because their ancestors made America and Thanksgiving possible. It is also a form of adoration or showing gratitude. Why not thank one of the descendants of the First Americans to our south, the Taíno. They were the first to fall victim to Spanish and Portuguese commercial exploitation of their conucos (gardens). Have you ever wondered about the billions of dollars that many of the planet’s economies garner yearly from Amerindian agricultural products? Think latex rubber; corn/maize; potatoes (sweet and Inca); yucca/cassava; dried beans; peppers (capsicum); pineapples; tomatoes; etc., etc. China heads up the list of producers of corn in Asia. Corn/maize that we know today is a grain that Ancient Mexican horticulturalists “invented” to suit a variety of soils and climates. Many African countries continue to grow, export and feed millions with byproducts of plants that are endemic to the Tropical Americas.
|Pictograph of the Pamunkey Treaty observance. Although the time when “the geese fly” may refer to Spring and not Fall.|