Although Thanksgiving is a holiday most think of in regard to the pilgrims and the Indians joining together in Plymouth, Massachusetts to feast in the fall of 1621, a year after the new settlers landed in America, Thanksgiving happened a lot earlier and in the Southwest.
Aaccording to historians, the first Thanksgiving actually took place near New Mexico in the city of San Elizario, Texas, just south of El Paso.
Ana Pacheco, the City Historian of Santa Fe writes:
According to American history, the founding at Plymouth Rock in 1620 is the oldest colony in the country. The reality is that the first European settlement in the United States occurred 22 years earlier. In 1598 the Spanish explorer, Don Juan de Oñate, and his army established the first colony in north America. The settlement was located at San Gabriel near Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, 30 miles north of Santa Fe.
On April 30, 1598 this nation’s first Thanksgiving took place. The event occurred near San Elizario, Texas. Oñate, and his contingent of soldiers, Franciscan missionaries and colonists celebrated their safe arrival. They had spent almost two months on a lengthy trek through the treacherous-desert terrain. The heroic expedition suffered from the elements marching from Santa Barbara, Mexico. Finally, they were able to take refuge at the northern boundary of the Rio Grande near El Paso.
The historical account of the first settlement was recorded as La Historia de Nuevo Mexico. It was written by the soldier/scribe Gaspar Perez de Villagra. It’s the only epic and historical book narrating the first European settlement of any state in the U.S. That is the true history of America’s first Thanksgiving.
A second Texas town claims to have been the real site of the first Thanksgiving in America. In 1598, a wealthy Spanish dignitary named Juan de Oñate was granted lands among the Pueblo Indians in the American Southwest. He decided to blaze a new path directly across the Chihuahua Desert to reach the Rio Grande. Oñate’s party of 500 soldiers, women and children barely survived the harrowing journey, nearly dying of thirst and exhaustion when they reached the river. (Two horses reportedly drank so much water that their stomachs burst.)
After 10 days of rest and recuperation near modern-day San Elizario, Texas, Oñate ordered a feast of thanksgiving, which one of his men described in his journal:“We built a great bonfire and roasted the meat and fish, and then all sat down to a repast the like of which we had never enjoyed before…We were happy that our trials were over; as happy as were the passengers in the Ark when they saw the dove returning with the olive branch in his beak, bringing tidings that the deluge had subsided.”
Thanksgiving’s rich traditions across our nation may now hit harder here in the Land of Enchantment, with the men and women who founded our beautiful state helped make the first Thanksgiving following a long and treacherous journey through the Chihuahuan Desert to discover what we are blessed to call New Mexico today.
Although others may claim the “first Thanksgiving” took place in another part of Texas, and some even claim since settlers arrived earlier in St. Augustine, Florida that those were the first Thanksgiving, it is not true. There are documented accounts that Oñate’s Thanksgiving feast was the first.
Last month, the Piñon Postreported how far-left groups have begun to focus on Georgia O’Keefe as their next target to “cancel.” The fringe group, “Three Sisters Collective,” blasted a New Mexico Tourism Department advertisement featuring O’Keeffe as “romantic settler voyeurism” and “erasure” of Native American culture. Here is the advertisement:
Even the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum itself, a supposed institution meant to honor the late artist who came to New Mexico, blasted her, writing the following in a statement:
The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum does not support the use of Georgia O’Keeffe quotes describing the New Mexico landscape as ‘her country’ or claiming ‘that was mine.’ While these quotes are from the artist, it is now clear that this is the language of possession, colonization, and erasure. Such language is offensive, insulting and insensitive. We strongly discourage the use of these problematic phrases, as well as ‘O’Keeffe Country’ to promote tourism or represent Northern New Mexico.
But the attacks on O’Keeffe’s legacy are nothing new. An August 2020 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum-sponsored virtual event called “Discussion: This is Not O’Keeffe Country” brought together radicals to assail O’Keeffe’s legacy and demean New Mexico culture in general.
In opening up the discussion, Cody Hartley, the director of the museum, claimed the Abiquiú area where the artist lived was “mistakenly” called “O’Keeffe Country” and instead said that he was “recognizing that the region we are discussing tonight is Tewa Country.” He then claimed the use of land in Santa Fe was “settler colonialism.”
Alicia Inez Guzman led the discussion, which invoked the term “colonialism” repeatedly in the description of O’Keeffe’s journey to New Mexico. Guzman described the artist’s worldview as “cosmopolitan.” She then asked the panelists about what she dubbed “unintended consequences.”
Christina M. Castro responded saying, “But with regard to unintended consequences, I would argue that the consequence, you know, they might not be as unintended, as we may think they are. The more I learned about the legacy of O’Keeffe and the era of her time, and the folks that were coming out from the East coast to, you know, ‘find themselves in a vast undiscovered landscape,’ the more I learned, you know, these elites were very calculated in their movements. And so, I’m trying to look at the legacy.”
Castro added, “These were elites who came out here as a part of an artistic settler colonial project. So, I’m interested in that because I don’t think that the consequences are necessarily unintentional.”
Guzman responded, “I think that’s a good point, Christina, because if you’re really entitled, and you’re really privileged, you may not think they’re intended. But intention doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with outcome…. We’re entering into the cash economy, where we’re seeing some environmental racism and that the, you know, the first movements in that direction.”
Jason Garcia of Santa Clara Pueblo chimed in, invoking the term “erasure” multiple times, then saying, “I found it interesting that [O’Keeffe] said, in reference to [Cerro] Pedernal (mountain)… Tsi’pin, She said, ‘It’s my private mountain. It belongs to me. God told me if I painted it enough, I could have it.’ So, just the fact that she’s saying, ‘If I paint this picture a thousand times, two thousand times, it’s mine, I have ownership.’ So, it’s just interesting of how that intended erasure and it was–I mean, you fall in love with a place, but once you call it yours, it’s a whole different ball game and things like that.”
Guzman agreed, saying, “There’s this phrase that says that amnesia is the algorithm of colonization. And so, I think that that’s absolutely appropriate in this context.”
On the topic of feminism, Guzman added, “We think of the feminism that O’Keeffe came out of, that she really originated out of, it’s very different contexts and she was breaking glass ceilings in the art world but does that really square with how we see women in our place here in New Mexico.”
Castro said, “White women have benefited a lot from feminism on the backs of women and people of color.”
Then the converstiaon went down a turn where they spoke down toward the Spanish who came to New Mexico, claiming they used Native Americans as slaves. Guzman called it “white supremacy” when speaking about people of mixed race.
She said, “And then, there were a lot of terms for like mixed race people as well, because the Spanish were really like obsessed with making sense of like, mixtures. This is white supremacy, right? I mean, here’s the word we should be using. Speaking of not using words, we should be using white supremacy.”
Castro added, “ The hierarchy of white supremacy and Hispanic white supremacy.”
Once the conversation turned back into talking about O’Keefe, Guzman asked, “Is it fair to lump O’Keeffe in with those who did abuse the land and claimed it by manifest destiny?” Castro answered, “Yes.”
Guzman previously wrote an article in 2020 claiming the racist, anti-Hispanic narrative that the Hispanic identity was fiction. This racist theory has previously been spun by The Red Nation hate group’s Nick Estes. Here’s what Guzman wrote:
The Americanization of the Plaza ran parallel to other efforts that sought to whitewash the city’s mixed Indo-Hispanic population — racist campaigns that Swentzell refers to as a “rehabilitation of Mexicans into Spaniards.” New Mexic… was “too Mexican” to be admitted to the Union as a state. So white tourism boosters, anthropologists and legislators (many of them slave owners) began a massive rebranding to cast residents as Spanish-American, an identity that was “closer to white.” The founding of Spanish-American schools and Spanish Colonial societies and the celebration of Spanish Fiestas was just another means of performing whiteness, Swentzell said. To claim pure Spanish ancestry was a way to identify with your oppressor so that you could eat scraps at the table he took from you.
The panelists then claimed O’Keeffe was a product of displacing Native American people throughout her entire life since she was born in Sun Prarie, Wisconsin in 1887, which Garcia said was a Native American “ancestral village.”
“Of where you’re saying George O’Keeffe wasn’t, she didn’t choose this, but she was actually a product of displacement of native peoples,” he added.
The panel shifted once again to bashing the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum for how much it charged for admission and a criticism of museums in general.
Corrine Sanchez of “Tewa Women United” said, “So, I would also like, consider the deconstruction of museums. Like we build this fortune, or we build this maintenance around museums and these structures, and we created a culture around it where people go visit and learn. If we deconstructed all of that money and put that into our educational system in some way, for our young people and had, you know, maybe then traveling. You know, traveling displays or things that everyone could access. This is the same conversation we need to have around the structures and the monuments. We go to D.C. because they have these big old monuments.”
The panel agreed that it was a place of “radicalism” needed to change the museum’s framework. Guzman said, “And part of it is like reflecting on your own privilege…. And this is the thing that everybody in Santa Fe should really be thinking about is like, how do you instrumentalize your privilege so that it’s going towards or weaponized your privilege?”
As self-identified radicals claim is based on colonization and supposed white supremacy, the war on Georgia O’Keeffe is still trying to damage the late artist’s legacy and contribution to New Mexico’s identity. The war on O’Keeffe, however, is by no means a contained event in general, as New Mexicans are seeing monuments and other historically and culturally significant places and artifacts ripped down and erased by radical “Indigenous” individuals.
On Tuesday, embattled Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who was accused and later settled $62,500 for sexual assault, will take part in a pre-Oscars event with the pro-abortion, sexist group “EMILY’s List,” which funnels millions of dark money dollars each year to pro-abortion candidates.
According to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), EMILY’s List gave Lujan Grisham at least $40,000 in direct contributions during the time she was in Congress. That amount does not account for the independent expenditures of the group in her favor. During Lujan Grisham’s 2018 run for governor, the dark money group funneled over $11,000 in direct contributions to her campaign, while spending an unknown amount on independent expenditures.
According to the press release from EMILY’s List, the “virtual” event will “feature a panel discussion hosted by the EMILY’s List Creative Council, where a powerful mix of entertainment industry and elected leaders will come together to spotlight the groundbreaking women who are leading the way in politics and the entertainment industry.”
Lujan Grisham will share the virtual stage for a “keynote panel” with raunchy “comedian” Samantha Bee of “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” disgraced aging actress and anti-American Vietnam War activist “Hanoi” Jane Fonda, actresses Regina King and Lucy Liu, Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA), and EMILY’s List Creative Council Co-Chair Chelsea Handler.
The release notes that EMILY’s List’s “vision is to be a driving force of change in America by electing more Democratic pro-[abortion] women to national, state, and local office, and this event serves to bring together politics and entertainment ‒ two areas where industries need to continue to make more space for women.”
The event, which purports to support women, features Gov. Lujan Grisham despite claims of sexual assault and later hush money payoffs to the victim. It also ignores the 750 million female babies worldwide killed through abortion over the past 50 years.
Last week, Hispanic cultural group Union Protectíva de Santa Fé published a scathing advertisement against Democrat Mayor Alan Webber in the Santa Fe Reporter, which was titled “Mayor Webber’s Dark Side.”
The advertisement included an essay claiming Webber “has attempted to privatize city services, discounted ‘attacks on our religion,’ and established a ‘Marxist’ process to address potentially controversial monuments across the city,” according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.
The advertisement shows images of the mayor surrounded by public monuments in the city, including the destroyed Plaza obelisk, which Webber instructed police officers to stand down during its destruction by domestic terrorists.
Webber later defended the Police Department’s decision to “stand down” and allow the riot, saying, “The choice to not incite more violence was the correct one.”
“The organization’s ad was the fourth in a series criticizing Webber. After Webber ordered the removal of a Don Diego de Vargas statue from Cathedral Park in the summer, the 106-year-old group placed an ad in The New Mexican calling on the mayor to protect the Kit Carson monument at the downtown U.S. District Court and the obelisk on the nearby Santa Fe Plaza,” according to the New Mexican’s report.
Triggered by the advertisement, Webber lashed out at the group, however, he did not overtly deny their accusations. He wrote, “These charges are wrong” in a statement. “The facts are wrong. Even worse, their intention is wrong: Their purpose is to inflame divisions in our city.”
“We pride ourselves on our histories, our diversity, our many cultures, backgrounds and experiences,” claimed Webber, despite letting anti-Hispanic hate groups rip down the downtown obelisk and his removal of the Don Diego de Vargas statue originally sitting in Cathedral Park to a city worker’s backyard.
Webber wrote in the statement Monday, “Everyone is welcome here. That’s what we believe, that’s how we live. It’s who we are.”
“We must reject this kind of divisive ugliness,” he added. “I know Santa Feans join me in standing against hate here and across our country.”
But the organization’s vice president, Gil Martinez did not agree with the childish ramblings from Webber. Martinez reportedly said he was “offended” that the mayor would suggest the image was meant as a racist attack. “I think it’s ridiculous in every form you can look at it,” he said. “They are grasping at straws.”
Webber’s challenger Joanne Vigil Coppler did not pay attention to the conflict, instead, focusing on her campaign against the deep-pocketed incumbent. “The only thing I can say is if he wants to run a positive campaign, then let’s talk about that,” she said.
Editor’s note from John Block: In the name of full disclosure, my father is and my late grandfather was a member of Union Protectíva de Santa Fé