Thanksgiving Facts

Thanksgiving with Michael Nova, Drew Mattson, and Jamario Smith.

Hannah Gutierrez, Contributor

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I took the opportunity to interview three 8th graders at Sig Rogich Middle School and ask them each a question about Thanksgiving. These students were Michael Nova, Drew Mattson, and Jamario Smith. Here’s what they had to say.

First I interviewed Michael Nova. I asked him why we celebrate Thanksgiving and his response was “When the pilgrims and natives had dinner for peace.” The story of why we celebrate Thanksgiving all started when the winter killed about half the pilgrims people and the Wampanoag Indians taught them about fishing, planting, and hunting. By autumn the colonist collected enough food to feed the whole community. The Wampanoag Indians joined the pilgrims for a feast that lasted 3 days. Every autumn the governor of each colony would declare days of Thanksgiving for bountiful harvest and victorious battles. In 1777 a congress decreed that all 13 colonies should celebrate a day of Thanksgiving to celebrate their victory of the British and Ceretoga. A magazine editor named Sarah Josepha Hale wanted Thanksgiving to be a national Holiday. Abraham Lincoln headed the request in 1863 and soon made Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday of November. This story about Thanksgiving is actually why we celebrate Thanksgiving today. It’s more than just the feast between the pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians.

Next I interviewed Drew Mattson. I asked him how many Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians attended the first Thanksgiving he answered with “20 pilgrims and 42 Wampanoag Indians.” Actually only 50 Pilgrims attended in the first Thanksgiving because half of their people died in the cold winter. The Wampanoag Indians outnumbered the pilgrims. There were 90 Wampanoag Indians who attended the feast. The Indians joined the feast because the colonist gathered enough food for the whole community and the Indians helped by teaching them how to hunt, fish, and plant. If half of the pilgrims people died from the winter the Wampanoag Indians and pilgrim may have never joined together.

Last but not least I interviewed Jamario Smith. I asked him what state raised the most Turkeys. He guessed “Tennessee.” With 41 million turkeys raised in 2015 Minnesota tops the chart for turkey production. Next up is North Carolina with 31 million turkeys raised. Then Arkansas coming in third with 27.5 million turkeys raised. As we know turkey is the main course of Thanksgiving. Almost every family goes out looking for a turkey to cook for the special holiday. Colonist also hunted wild turkey for food and turkey has became the main thing for Thanksgiving.

Photo Credit: Hannah Gutierrez