Native Village 
Youth and Education News

December  2012

Paintings created hundreds of years after feast aren't historically, factually accurate
Read the entire article: http://www.standard.net/
Condensed by Native Village

If only there had been a camera at the First Thanksgiving...

Many of today's stereotypes about the feast and those who attended originated from paintings created long after the 1621 event was over.

“The images often tell you more about the time they are created than the time they actually are depicting,” says Jenny Pulsipher, a Brigham Young University historian.

 One example is a popular painting of the First Thanksgiving done in 1915 by Jean Louis Gerome Ferris, an American painter.

He depicted the Indians wearing elaborate feather headdresses common to tribes in the Great Plains, not those in Massachusetts.
 “In the early 20th century, people thought that all Indians looked like Plains Indians,” said Pulsipher.  People tended to assume “all Indians are the same when really Indians are just as diverse as Europeans are.”


The Ferris painting also shows the natives without shirts.
“They wouldn’t have been half-naked, either, because this is November and it’s cold,” Pulsipher says.

The Wampanoag are shown sitting on the ground as a Pilgrim woman hands them food.
At the time the painting was done, many Americans considered native peoples uncivilized — “so you have to feed them on the ground,” Pulsipher says. “Obviously, it’s implying that the ones who are standing are superior
.

A modern painting of the First Thanksgiving might feature both groups sitting at a table or together on the ground. The Pilgrims and Wampanoag enjoyed a cooperative relationship at the time, Pulsipher says -- “not one people dominating over another.”

Another popular Thanksgiving painting was done by Jennie A. Brownscombe in 1914. It depicts the Pilgrims' outfits more realistically. The clothes are simpler, without Ferris's “best dress” black outfits on the men or ruffles on the women’s hats, Pulsipher says.

Most striking about Brownscombe's painting is that you don’t immediately see any Indians; they are sitting in the background.
This indicates the then-popular view of the “vanished” Indian who once lived in America but were now gone. Yet the Indians living near Plymouth in the 1600s “way outnumbered the Pilgrims,” Pulsipher says, “and they outnumbered them at the Thanksgiving meal, too.


Native Village Home Page

Native Village © Gina Boltz
To receive email notices of Native Village updates, please send your email address to: NativeVillage500@aol.com
To contact us, email NativeVillage500@aol.com

 Backgrounds: www.robertkaufman.com

Thank you to ALL the wonderful individuals,  friends, organizations, groups, news services and websites who share or donate their research, work, time and talents to make Native Village possible
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment for non-profit research, archival, news, and educational purposes only.
NATIVE VILLAGE website was created for youth, educators, families, and friends who wish to celebrate the rich, diverse cultures of The Americas' First Peoples. We offer readers two monthly publications: NATIVE VILLAGE Youth and Education News and NATIVE VILLAGE Opportunities and Websites.  Each issue shares today's happenings in Indian country. NATIVE VILLAGE also houses website libraries and informational materials to enrich all lives on Turtle Island.
Unless otherwise noted, articles are written in full by the credited author at the credited source link. We are responsible for format changes and additional photos, art, and graphics which boost visual appeal and add dimension to the reading experience. Pictures and graphics not appearing with the original article are either credited on the page or by right-clicking the picture. Some may be free or by sources unknown.
Please contact us with any copyright corrections so we may properly credit the source.
 We are not responsible for changes to outside websites and weblinks. Please notify us if any problems arise.