Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Pilgrims and Indians

 At last year's New England Family History Conference, I went to a fantastic lecture about the Mayflower pilgrims entitled "How 51 Pilgrims Changed the World." It was given by a historian named Leo Martin who dressed in pilgrim clothes and he was so inspiring in what he taught about the lasting influence of the pilgrims on America. He also dispelled some of the popular myths that are taught in schools and believed by many Americans, such as that the pilgrims stole land from the Indians (the Indians didn't want the land that the Pilgrims settled on!). 

This lecture and this man left a deep impression on me, and when I found out that he and his wife run a museum in Plymouth, The Jenney Museum, and do historical walking tours of the town, I knew I had to do that, and we finally did do that last month with my parents. Leo led the tour, which I was glad about, and I enjoyed getting to talk to him and his wife because I admire them so much. The tour was just as good as I expected it would be. I love how this man tells the history so well and in such an interesting and relevant way, and how he does it in a way that gives credence to God and the power of the pilgrims' faith and ideas and their highly respectable conduct. The pilgrims came here as families, they loved God and their neighbor, and they started capitalism. These aren't romanticized notions, they're wonderful facts that inform the start of our country! (This is one of the reasons that I detest the appalling 1619 Project.) Going on this tour was the perfect thing to do to mark the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower landing, especially because so many of the special events planned for that were cancelled due to COVID.

Mayflower history is particularly special to me because I have four great-grandfathers who came over on the ship (including William Bradford, the governor) and the boys have another great-grandfather from Peter's side, the infamous John Howland (the guy who fell overboard during a storm and almost drowned, but was miraculously saved, and from him come many illustrious descendants like Joseph Smith, Winston Churchill, the Roosevelts, the Bushes...and of course my sons! 😁).

A pretty scene at the historic mill behind the museum.

Here's Leo in front of a statue of William Bradford. He said that the popular concept of the pilgrims wearing hats and shoes with buckles (like on the statue) is not actually true. That style of dress came later, at the time when the artist who created the statue lived. Pilgrim men dressed more like Leo was dressed.

William Bradford is my 11th great-grandfather. He was elected governor 35 years in a row. 🙌

A big peaceful rally in front of Plymouth Rock between Biden/Black Lives Matter supporters and Trump supporters was just wrapping up when we got there. That was interesting to see, and directly relevant to why the Pilgrims came to America: freedom. 

It's believed that this is literally the rock that the pilgrims stepped onto when they arrived at Plymouth and left the ship.

I so much admire the women of that time. They are inspiring to me. When I said that I have four great-grandfathers who came over, I have four great-grandmothers who did as well. The women were respected and educated. In his lecture at the Family History Conference, Leo had talked abut how the morals of a country are dictated by the morals of women, and how our country was built from the family up. I love what these women did and what they stood for.

The pillared structure is where Plymouth Rock is. It's neat to envision the Mayflower landing here.

Diverging from the narrative a bit here (because I try not to overlook things that don't fit my narrative :cough: mainstream media: cough!). My liberal friends and family will appreciate this. I get the point of the National Day of Mourning because of the unjust tragedies that happened later with the Indians, but it being here in Plymouth overlooks some important facts. As I mentioned before the the pilgrims didn't take the Indians' land away from them. They took land that nobody wanted. Also, everybody was equal under the law with the pilgrims--including the Indians, they worked together cooperatively and helped each other out, and the pilgrims defended themselves when they had to but they never went after anyone otherwise. 

Massasoit was a wonderful person who I have so much respect for. I'm inspired by how he befriended and assisted the pilgrims while also looking out for his own people. This man was a hero.

Sam wanted me to take his picture with Massasoit. I think he was awed by it, and him. Sam has a lot of respect for the Indians, possibly more than for his own ancestors! 

You know what's cool? I learned on the tour that one of Massasoit's closest friends was our 12th great uncle Edward Winslow, who helped nurse him back to health when Massasoit was very sick. Sadly, their sons fought each other one generation later in King Phillip's war (Phillip was Massasoit's son). 

We found the John Howland house! Or the lot that it stood on anyway.

I'm pretty sure this isn't the original house. 😉

This is where the original Plimoth Plantation was, stretching up this hilly street from the sea. It looks quite a bit different today, obviously. I hope that someday, in some way I'll be able to see it like it was then.

Here we are up at the top of Burial Hill, where many of the pilgrims are buried. This is the actual site of the first Thanksgiving, which really was celebrated with the Indians as friends. That is not a myth!

The Museum is right down the hill, so it's also on the site of the original Plimoth Plantation.

If you ever go to Plymouth (which you should if you haven't!), I HIGHLY recommend the Jenney Museum and their wonderful walking tour. It was one of the highlights of my year, and possibly my life, insofar as history, family history, and inspirational concepts of freedom, religion, family, and democracy are concerned.
I'm thankful to be an American and to live in this great country that has an imperfect but wonderfully inspiring foundation. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Indians and Ichabod

 Sam learned about and did some fun things in school this fall.

One of them was about the Native Americans (or Indians, which I don't feel bad calling them because a historian I know who works with them said that in his experience, many of them prefer being called that). Sam had to make an Indian habitat for school, and he chose to make a teepee. He did it pretty much on his own, and I thought he did a great job with it. He said that some of the other kids had way fancier ones, and it inspired him to make a longhouse for fun soon after this (pictures to come next month when I do my November posts--because I'm finally just about caught up!!!).

Anyway, the teepee!

Another fun thing that Sam did for school last month was to learn about and read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. To go along with that, he and I read a fun mystery based on the story, and we watched the Disney cartoon version (from my childhood!). I don't have pictures of any of that, but I did read a fun little article about Ichabod Crane in The Wall Street Journal the day before Halloween.

I like learning about what my kids are learning about in school (unless it's math 😂). Sometimes I really wish I could be a young student again! Then I remember all the work there was to do in high school and college, and I'm fine with where I am now. 😄 

In Defense of Christopher Columbus

 I don't like how Christopher Columbus has been villainized in America over the last several years, and how there is an active, somewhat successful movement to call it Indigenous Peoples Day instead of Columbus Day. Some people don't think Columbus is a man worth honoring because of how he treated the Indians. Among other things, they forget or overlook the fact that they're judging him by the standards of our time and not the standards of the time in which he lived. Columbus was seen before his time by the Book of Mormon prophet Nephi, and for that reason I fully believe that he was called by God to discover America. Was he called by God to mistreat the Indians? Of course not. But we can't be myopic and let one aspect of what took place take away from the bigger picture and the circumstances of the time.

"Actions we now eschew as immoral, such as slavery, torture, or colonization, were commonplace, and Columbus was a man of his time."

"He was not good to Native American people...but he's definitely not out of step with the times. Spanish conquistadors who came after Columbus were much more brutal."

Italian-Americans support their kinsman and the pride that he brings to their cultural heritage.

"Columbus paved the way for the inclusion and diversity that is unique to the New World."

I read a really interesting article about Columbus that brought up some very good points:

Conquest and the spread of Christianity among the Native people helped end some truly horrific things that they'd been doing to each other, including the ritual torture and genocide of their own people and children. 


**Really good points are made here.** This article was so provocative and illuminating. It is one of the best defenses of Columbus that I've ever read.


I was proud of Sam last year when he defended Columbus at school by saying that Columbus' intent was good in trying to spread Christianity. His teacher e-mailed me about it and her response to him was really good too, that even though Columbus may have been on God's errand, God didn't necessarily approve of everything he did to carry it out. THIS is the free flow of ideas, and THIS is the true value of education.

Long live Columbus Day!

Monday, November 23, 2020

Crazy Times Scrapbook, October 2020

This isn't organized into sections today. I'm sure you'll forgive me (if you even read it! 😂).

The Trumps got the virus. Crazy times indeed! My phone was blowing up with the news that morning.

I'm so glad that he recovered as quickly as he did. Though it's serious, this virus is not the be-all, end-all of viruses. {That's probably still coming down the pike...😱}

It's post-election now (well, mostly...we'll see what still might happen with that). But for now, with Biden apparently on the way in, I think we're in trouble.

Bin Laden's niece is a Trump supporter.

You think?

The Great Barrington Declaration is the voice of reason...

Antifa is evil.

"President Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord and eased the Obama-Biden Administration's economically destructive climate regulations, and the U.S. is still leading the world in CO2 reductions."

I'm in the 17%.

This ex-liberal NYU professor had some good points about Trump and why he supports him. (Cliffs notes: He supports him for three reasons: 1) Trump's foreign policy, 2) Trump's ability to withstand a prolonged coup attempt by the Democrats and the media, and 3) Trump is a champion of bourgeois values.

"Wokeism" is a perilous threat to America and particularly to the First Amendment...

Good point.

A clear-cut explanation of capitalism and socialism.

"Watching the press handle Joe Biden is 'like watching someone make sure a 3 year old wins Candyland.'"

Next year's running of the Boston Marathon is already postponed. 😞

This went nowhere. If it had been Trump, it would have been ALL OVER THE NEWS. 

"What has come into plain view the past year is that the Democratic Party, despite its liberal traditions, has allowed itself to descend into a deeply pessimistic view of America." 

"If Americans vote him out, they'll thank him for years for boosting the economy and maintaining the law."

It's still shocking to me that we have to think about this happening in the U.S.

 I apologize for the somewhat obscene nature of this, but it illustrated the point well. Is 2021 going to be better or worse??