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Lester Lecture-"A Tale of Three Thanksgivings: Toward an Understanding of the Wampanoag Day of Mourning"

David J. Silverman, Ph.D., professor of history at George Washington University, specializes in Native American, Colonial American, and American racial history. Prof. Silverman’s lecture will be based on research for the book he is currently writing. The upcoming book is a Wampanoag-centered history of Plymouth colony and the Thanksgiving holiday for Bloomsbury Press.

His lecture discusses the National Day of Mourning hosted by the Wampanoag Indians of Massachusetts each year on Thanksgiving. This talk will explore why by holding the nation’s Thanksgiving myth up to the light of Wampanoag history. Telling the tales of three historic Thanksgivings--the famous 1621 feast between the Wampanoags and the English, Plymouth colony’s day of thanksgiving at the end of King Philip’s War of 1676, and the first National Day of Mourning protest in 1970—demonstrates that it is not only inadequate, but cruel to use a shared meal as a symbol of colonialism, particularly in the context of a national holiday. The audience is asked to consider, can this pluralistic country do better.

The Lester Lecture is free and open to the public.


Chambers Hance Auditorium (CHAM-4121)

Event Type



Veltri, Lee A