Thanksgiving stands as one of the most American of holidays, an autumnal ritual fixed in the imagination as honoring the piety and perseverance of the nation’s earliest arrivals during colonial days....
The observations about Native Americans recorded by European newcomers have led to a long-standing impression of what traditional Indian life was like. But what these European settlers saw was far from “traditional”; it was the product of a particular period in time for Native Americans that was one of adjustment and adaptation to new conditions.
Native Americans discovered Europe at the same time Europeans discovered America. Just as Europeans struggled to fit evidence of “new worlds” into their frames of understanding, so too did Native North Americans in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.
On April 10, 1606, James I of England granted a charter to the Virginia Company. The aims of the Jamestown expedition were to establish England’s claim to North America, search for gold or silver mines, find a passage to the Pacific Ocean (the “Other Sea”), harvest the natural resources of the land, and trade with Indian peoples.