O.K. So as the story goes (and believe me it's just a story) this guy named Squanto befriends the Pilgrims and convinces all his people to teach the newcomers to hunt and plant crops. In return the Pilgrims (grateful for their first harvest) cooked up a spread (that included roasted turkey and cranberry sauce) and invited the natives to share the feast. Hence the first Thanksgiving is born.
Of course it didn't go down quite like that. The only "spread" that was shared was a virus so mysterious and deadly to the indigenous environment; that it nearly wiped out all of Squanto's people in the southeastern coast of what is now Massachusetts. (see leptospirosis).
Let's turn the clock ahead to a "happier" time, when the schoolchildren were so innocently indoctrinated by the myth of the happy thanksgiving, that in 1863 then President Abraham Lincoln released a proclamation to celebrate the day as a US holiday in the midst of a bitterly divided nation. In 1941 Congress passed legislation that declared Thanksgiving Day a federal holiday to be observed of the fourth Thursday of November.
Those are the basic historical facts, and you would think that the myth would have taken what respect it had gotten and remained satisfied. But no; the fire burns brighter as Thanksgiving has an 80 plus year history of being the kickoff to the HOLIDAY SHOPPING SEASON. (Wait, this just in, Halloween is rapidly catching up as the new kick off. )
One might think with all this negativity I just spewed that I'm just a humbug for Thanksgiving. Not true at all. I just believe (especially in this war against most of us) that we have to break it down to the basic concept of thankfulness. Thankful for survival, family, friends and neighbors. Eucharistic literally translates to giving thanks. I'm thankful for the real essence of humanity. That time when you experience a moment of positive connection with a stranger, meet a new friend or help someone out. I'm thankful that "they" can't take away the good things we learned from the myth of Squanto and the new worlders. And that's that.