Around 999 AD the Greenland Thing voted that
Christianity would be the national religion. Eric the Red at first refused but with the vote and the encouragement
of his wife, accepted Christianity. His son Leif on a missionary journey accidently came to "Vinland" which is now known
as Cape Cod.
After a brief exploration he returned home to describe the area. His younger brother, Thorvald was upset that his brother
had not explored the land further. Lending Thorvald his ship, Leif encouraged him to explore the land, which Thorvald
did. During his exploration of the Cape, Thorvald's group became involved in a battle
with local Indians. Thorvald was fatally wounded during the battle. Prior to dying however, Thorvald asked
his crew to bury him " in this pleasant place". The crew did bury him in what is possibly now Provincetown, and placed crosses at both the foot and the head of his grave. Upon returning
to Greenland, Thorvald's other brother, Thorstein was upset that the crew had given him a
Christian burial. He set out with his own crew to recover Thorvald's body and give it a traditional Viking
burial. They were never successful in finding the body.
Hundreds of years later when the Pilgrims landed at Provincetown
in 1620 they were looking for food. They dug into a mound, looking for dried corn. Instead of corn they found
the body of a man and a boy. The man had "fine yellow hair still on it," along with clothing and artifacts according
to the writings of Governor Bradford.
(1) New England's Viking and Indian Wars by Robert E. Cahill
The First Thanksgiving
Over the years this event has been downplayed as a secular event. The fact remains that these Christians risked the
perils of an overseas journey so that they could worship freely. Another fact is that they feasted with the Wampanoags
for three days, including the king, Massasoit. Is it then reasonable to assume that during these three days feasting
together that the Pilgrims shared their Christian faith with the Wampanoags? Could you spend THREE DAYS with your family?
Edward Winslow writing in Mourt's Relation (in modern spelling)
being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that
so we might after a special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labors; they four in one day
killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the Company almost a week, at which time amongst other Recreations,
we exercised our Arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with
some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five Deer, which they brought
to the Plantation and bestowed on our Governor, and upon the Captain and others. And although it be not always so
plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you
partakers of our plenty."
Courtesy Pilgrim Hall Museum
Nauset, what is the meaning? The
Nauset tribe, sometimes referred to as the Cape Cod Indians lived in what is present-day Cape
Cod, Massachusetts, living east of Bass
River and lands occupied by their closely related neighbours, the Wampanoag.
Although a distinct tribe, they were often subject to Wampanoag overlordship and shared many similar aspects of culture, such
as speaking an N-dialect of Algonquian language and similar agricultural practices.