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This Land Is Their Land

The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving
Written by: David J. Silverman
Narrated by: William Roberts
Length: 14 hrs and 55 mins
Categories: History, Americas

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Publisher's Summary

Bloomsbury presents This Land Is Their Land by David J. Silverman, read by William Roberts.

Ahead of the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving, a new look at the Plymouth colony’s founding events, told for the first time with Wampanoag people at the heart of the story.

In March 1621, when Plymouth’s survival was hanging in the balance, the Wampanoag sachem (or chief), Ousamequin (Massasoit), and Plymouth’s governor, John Carver, declared their people’s friendship for each other and a commitment to mutual defense. Later that autumn, the English gathered their first successful harvest and lifted the specter of starvation. Ousamequin and 90 of his men then visited Plymouth for the 'First Thanksgiving'. The treaty remained operative until King Philip’s War in 1675, when 50 years of uneasy peace between the two parties would come to an end.

400 years after that famous meal, historian David J. Silverman sheds profound new light on the events that led to the creation, and bloody dissolution, of this alliance. Focusing on the Wampanoag Indians, Silverman deepens the narrative to consider tensions that developed well before 1620 and lasted long after the devastating war - tracing the Wampanoags’ ongoing struggle for self-determination up to this very day.

This unsettling history reveals why some modern Native people hold a Day of Mourning on Thanksgiving, a holiday which celebrates a myth of colonialism and white proprietorship of the United States. This Land is Their Land shows that it is time to rethink how we, as a pluralistic nation, tell the history of Thanksgiving.

©2019 David J. Silverman (P)2019 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

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  • 05-12-19

A story as believable as it is tragic

After listening to Silverman's story of the Wampanoag's centuries with the English and their biological and cultural descendants, I feel both despair and hope. The despair is in that the fact that story of this particular encounter between Native Americans and Europeans is so familiar and universal. In its essentials, it is repeated in so many times and places, and into the present day. I credit Silverman's scholarship and excellent writing with keeping me entranced enough to endure this awful story. The hope I mentioned springs from the knowing that there are still Wampanoags living in their homeland, and that they are strong enough to continue the struggle.

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