Thank the Creator for Every Dawn
By Roy Cook

The puritans (who did not even call themselves pilgrims) did not come here seeking religious freedom; they already had that in Holland. They came here as part of a commercial venture on a ridiculously small and overcrowded ship called the Mayflower by coming to America. When they arrived in Plymouth, many suffering from the ship-incubated scurvy disease and a very difficult Atlantic crossing, they soon realized that they were unprepared for the harsh winter and were facing starvation. Had it not been for the kindness and generosity of the People of the Dawn or Wampanoag Indians, they would not have survived. The Wampanoag and Samoset taught them to live off the land, to hunt and find food within nature’s bounty.

The Wampanoag fished in the fresh-water ponds and rivers for herring, trout, perch, catfish and eels. They also fished in the saltwater ocean for cod, tautog, pollock, bluefish, flatfish, bass, sea eels, mackerel and others. The men even went out on whaling trips too! Women usually caught shellfish such as oysters, soft-shelled clams, quahogs, mussels, razor clams, lobsters, crabs, and conch. Many different kinds of nuts, berries, greens, and mushrooms were gathered from the woods and other places. These were added to soups and other dishes such as nasaump , a thick and filling food made of corn. Some of these nuts and berries were eaten fresh, while others were dried and stored for future use.

Additionally, which leaves and herbs could alleviate discomfort and disease, though to be fair, these early immigrants were oblivious to the virulent European diseases they were exposing the native peoples to, or the deadly effect they were going to have on the unsuspecting natives. Soon afterwards, the Pilgrims, with no authority, and the Wampanoag would sign a treaty of friendship. We know the mythical first Thanksgiving Day celebration was exclusively a Plymouth affair taken part by the Pilgrims and the local native Indians.

In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims had reason to celebrate. They had survived the winter and applied the lessons of the Wampanoag, resulting in a bountiful autumn harvest. The land had provided food for all and this alone was reason for a public ceremony. The first Thanksgiving in the New World was hosted by the Wampanoag in 1621. That feast was attended by 53 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans, but contrary to tradition, bread, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie were not served, though wild turkey might have augmented the fish, eels, clams, and venison, nuts, beans, corn, squash, and berries. The strict religious colonists were not to incline to regularly celebrate thanksgiving. Much more typical were days of prayer thanking God for blessings.


Geo. Washington, as the nation's first President, declared November 26, 1789, as a national day of "thanksgiving and prayer." A few months after his inauguration, Washington issued "Presidential Proclamation Number One", his Thanksgiving as the first President. He voiced his personal conviction that "it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God." Thanksgiving as a national holiday didn't see success until 1863 when Abraham Lincoln finally made it a national holiday with his 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation. So it was Lincoln who resumed the tradition. And it has continued to the present days. Probably the last Thursday of November was set by Lincoln to somewhat correlate with the anchoring of the Mayflower at Cape Cod, which occurred on November 21, 1620 as per the modern Gregorian calendar. To the Pilgrims who used the Julian calendar it was November 11.

There is much to be thankful for each day. Every Dawn as it comes is a holy event and everyday is holy. Every Dawn as it comes is a holy event and everyday is holy. These were the lessons of life taught by the People of the Dawn. History has recorded that these lessons fell upon deaf ears at that time that were only hungry for land.

Today, we can still see that the generosity of the Creator is evident all around us with every breath we take. With every sight we see. With every sip of life we take. This is our time to give thanks for all the gifts of the Creator. Regardless of circumstances or politics or our own emotions we can show our gratitude.

Every day is a fine day to live in Thanksgiving for the gifts of the creator.