This Land is Their Land
Thursday, November 14, 2019
Free and open to the public.
Benjamin Franklin Hall
427 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Ahead of the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving, David J. Silverman offers a new look at the Plymouth colony’s founding events, told for the first time with Wampanoag people at the heart of the story. This Land is Their Land sheds profound new light on the events that led to the creation, and bloody dissolution, of the alliance between the Plymouth colony and the Wampanoag people. Focusing on the Wampanoags, Silverman deepens the narrative to consider tensions that developed well before 1620 and lasted long after the devastating King Philip’s War in 1675—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.
David J. Silverman is a professor at George Washington University, where he specializes in Native American, Colonial American, and American racial history. He is the author of Thundersticks, Red Brethren, Ninigret, and Faith and Boundaries. He has spoken at many historical societies, universities, libraries, and festivals, including the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, the University of Michigan, the Montana Historical Society, and the Virginia Festival of the Book. His essays have won major awards from the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and the New York Association of History.