When the pilgrims landed on the shores of America, they were ill equipped to live off the land. Without the aid of the Indians, they might have perished before they built a settlement.
Part of their survival training was the Indians teaching them the secrets of the Three Sisters, a collective name for corn, beans and squash.
The Indians planted these crops in one mound. The corn provided the ladder for the beans to grow and the beans returned nitrogen to the soil. The squash plants provided the shade that held precious moisture in the ground.
The origin of the name “Three Sisters” is told in many different legends. One tells of an Indian medicine woman with three feuding daughters. She asked the Creator for help. In a dream, she saw each sister as a different seed that she planted in one mound so each could help the other.
In the morning, she cooked an egg for her daughters, but fixed them differently. She told her daughters they were as different as each egg but that they were loved. The daughters began to celebrate their differences, the feuding stopped, and from then on the Native people planted the three crops together.
The first Thanksgiving, in 1621 at Plymouth, Mass., was both a thanksgiving for the harvest and a thank you to the Wampanoag Indians who had given of their knowledge to help the colonists.
But this was not the first thanksgiving held in America. Each year, Native Americans such as the Pueblo, Cherokee and Creek celebrated harvest time and a bountiful crop.
And the tradition goes on as we too give thanks for our blessings and celebrate as so many others did in the past.