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Chaplain's Chat - November 2017

I heard this story a while back and thought the family of Saint John’s Catholic Prep might enjoy the story of Squanto. I borrowed this article from Dale Ahlquist.

In 1614, he had been captured by an English party led by Captain John Smith (of Pocahontas fame) and taken on a ship to Spain where he was to be sold as a slave. He was rescued by some Dominican friars who instructed him in the Catholic faith. He told them he wanted to return to his people in America. They helped him get to England, where he met John Slaney, who taught him English and arranged for him to get to Newfoundland. Squanto served as an interpreter between the English and the Indians and crossed the Atlantic six times. He was never able to return to his own tribe because they had been wiped out in a plague.

After he came to the aid of the Plymouth settlers, helping them grow their own food, he arranged for a joint harvest feast with the local Wampanoag tribe. It was this event that is the basis of our Thanksgiving holiday. So Thanksgiving was started by a Native American Catholic. Ironically, the Wampanoag tribe later took Squanto hostage because they distrusted him, and he was rescued by the English. It is possible that the Indians poisoned him, which led to his death shortly afterward in 1622.

This is why some are convinced that the Catholics deserve the credit for the first Thanksgiving.

Dale Ahlquist is president of the American Chesterton Society, creator and host of the EWTN series "G.K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense," and publisher of Gilbert Magazine. He is the author and editor of several books on Chesterton, including The Complete Thinker: The Marvelous Mind of G.K. Chesterton.

Fr. Mike Kuhn, YA
Campus Chaplain