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Indigenous Heritage Ask The Expert

Ask The Expert: The Real Thanksgiving Story

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Date and time
Friday, November 10, 2023
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We think we know what happened in 1621 — why Thanksgiving was held, how the Wampanoag were invited, what the Pilgrims ate – but first Thanksgiving facts, as most Americans have been taught in the years since, are not exactly accurate.

Learn more about the real Thanksgiving story, as shared by Brad Musquantamôsq Lopes (Aquinnah Wampanoag), Director of Wampanoag and Indigenous Interpretation and Training at Plimoth Patuxet Museums and Tom Begley, Deputy Director of Collections, Research, & Public Engagement at Plimoth Patuxet Museums. Together, Brad and Tom will offer historical and cultural perspectives related to the first Thanksgiving story and gratitude as a way of life for Indigenous Peoples. Topics to be explored include:

- The historical events that led up to the “First Thanksgiving” feast
- Who sat at the table
- What food was served
- How long the feast lasted
- Traditions of gratitude that informed Thanksgiving
- How Thanksgiving has been observed from 1621 to today

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to separate fact from fiction with our experts, and gain a deeper understanding of the real Thanksgiving story.
More about our speakers
Brad Musquantamôsq Lopes is the Director of Wampanoag and Indigenous Interpretation and Training at Plimoth Patuxet Museums, located in the homelands of his people, the Wampanoag Nation. A proud citizen of the Aquinnah Wampanoag community with a degree in Secondary Education from the University of Maine at Farmington, Brad has worked as a classroom teacher, curriculum developer, and most recently as a Program Director for the Aquinnah Cultural Center on Noepe (Martha’s Vineyard). In this role, Brad oversees the Wampanoag and Indigenous training program and the implementation of interpretive content and techniques surrounding the understanding of Indigenous people both in the past and today.

Tom Begley is the Deputy Director of Collections, Research, & Public Engagement at Plimoth Patuxet Museums. He has been with the museum since 2014 and has a Bachelor's degree in U.S. History from Stonehill College and is completing his Master's degree in Public History at UMass Boston. In his current role, Tom directs the research facilities and the operations across the exhibit and living history spaces. He served as editor on the facsimile of William Bradford's Of Plimoth Plantation published in collaboration with the State Library of Massachusetts and guided Plimoth Patuxet's successful application to list Mayflower II on the National Register of Historic Places.

About Plimoth Patuxet
Plimoth Patuxet is one of the nation’s foremost living history museums. Founded in 1947, the museum creates engaging experiences of history built on thorough research about the Indigenous and European people who met along Massachusetts' historic shores in the 1600s. Immersive and educational encounters underscore the collaborations as well as the culture clash and conflicts of the 17th century people of this region. Major exhibits include the Historic Patuxet Homesite, the 17th-Century English Village, Mayflower II, and Plimoth Grist Mill.

More about Ask the Expert
At Ask the Expert, get access to experts specializing in a wide variety of topics, learn something new about a subject you are passionate about or discover a new interest. GBH invites you to drive the conversation by asking questions during the live event directly with our expert. It’s always interesting, and it’s always free!

This event is presented in partnership with Plimoth Patuxet Museums.

Photo credit: Kathy Tarantola/Plimoth Patuxet Museums


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