March 11: Mass Mayflower Book Club Meeting

The next meeting of the Mass Mayflower Book Club will take place on Wednesday, March 11 at 10 a.m. at the Mayflower Society House (snow date is March 18).

WHEN? Wednesday, March 11, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. (Snow date: March 18)

WHERE? The Mayflower Society House (4 Winslow St. Plymouth, MA)

WHAT? This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving by David J. Silverman


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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.

WHO? The discussion will be facilitated by Peggy Baker, a local Plymouth historian and the Thomas Roger Family editor of the GSMD Silver Books, the Director Emerita of the Pilgrim Society and Pilgrim Hall Museum, and an Honorary Life Member of the MSMD.

Mark your calendars and start reading! For more information, please contact Cynthia Tinney at or 781-878-5273.

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