Welcome back to the 255! We would like to wish all of our students a happy Thanksgiving break. This week, we wanted to highlight the reality of the evolution of the holiday commonly known as Thanksgiving. A principle of our Division is to think critically and analytically about the ways in which we perceive things. It is our hope that after reading this post, you too will look at the celebration of Thanksgiving through a new and interesting historical lens! To learn more about the scholarship regarding Thanksgiving, we reached out to MMC’s Librarian, Mary Brown, who specializes in historical archives.

True or nah?

Thanksgiving scholarship is a rich topic. The concept of thanksgiving and the cultural artifact of sharing a meal are both so widespread that one branch of Thanksgiving scholarship is devoted to finding Thanksgivings that took place before the one that became famous, at Plymouth Plantation in 1621.1For some scholars, the first Thanksgiving doesn’t matter so much as how Americans have reshaped the holiday to suit their purposes; The American Presidency Project has a blog surveying presidential Thanksgiving proclamations from George Washington to Donald Trump, which together have reinforced an image of Thanksgiving as a celebration of peace and prosperity.2 Those who do focus on Plymouth in 1621 have scant primary sources on which to rely: William Bradford’s History of Plymouth Planation and Edward Winslow’s Mourt’s Relations: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, 1622.3 . . . No Wampanoags left a written record.

Mary Brown, MMC Librarian, Archivist, and Bibliographer

George Washington University professor David J. Silverman has tried to reconstruct the Wampanoags’ participation in that first Thanksgiving in This Land Was Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Planation, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving.4 . . . The English had demonstrated they were dangerous, appropriating stores of corn the Wampanoags had buried for themselves. And their small numbers did not make them look like powerful allies. On the other hand, their weakness meant they share Ousamequin’s interest in an alliance, and what they lacked in numbers they made up for in new military technology. Plus, given the division of opinion among the Wampanoag, it was important that Ousamequin exercise his role as leader. Accordingly, Ousamequin reached out to the Pilgrims, bringing his men to display his military capability as both tribute an a show of generosity.

Mary Brown, MMC Librarian, Archivist, and Bibliographer

The Pilgrims knew they were a minority faith in their own land and one of many European groups scrabbling to establish themselves on the western Atlantic coast, and they could not afford to ignore Ousamequin’s offer. Their first winter had halved their numbers; the day the Pilgrims hosted Ousamequin and his ninety men there were fewer than fifty Pilgrims—men, women, and children. The first Thanksgiving may have set a precedent for many future ones in that it may not have been a stress-free gathering, but more like an opportunity for Wampanoags and Pilgrims to size each other up.

Mary Brown, MMC Librarian, Archivist, and Bibliographer

Plymouth’s long-time governor William Bradford died in 1657, and Ousamequin between 1660 and 1662, the new leadership was not like the old, and it faced a new pressure: Puritans, a different group of English Protestants, were arriving en masse in what they called “New England.” Ousamequin’s son and successor, Wamsutta, alienated the Pilgrims by reaching out to this larger and more powerful group, and the Pilgrims turned on him . . . The history of the first Thanksgiving then became two histories. White Americans created a national memory of settlers peacefully enjoying the bounty of the land with “neighbors”. Wampanoag historians mourned the Pilgrims’ arrival as the start of the loss of everything dear to them.5

Mary Brown, MMC Librarian, Archivist, and Bibliographer

Wampanoag historians rightly point to the great losses that can’t be restored, and to the need to work out a new equity for historically marginalized indigenous people in what’s become the United States. But a first step might be to work our way back in history to a first Thanksgiving when two very different groups of people met each other with respect, however wary, for what each brought to their table and started a working relationship that, however short a period of time it seems for us, was forty years for them.

Mary Brown, MMC Librarian, Archivist, and Bibliographer

A special thanks to Mary Brown for enlightening us with this insight into the scholarship of Thanksgiving. Although the holiday’s history is quite controversial, it has become something central to the United States’ culture. In discussions with students, we inquired how they engage with Thanksgiving. The diversity in response reflects the wide variety of ideas, cultures, and traditions that lie within our school community. Some students stick to a pretty traditional U.S. Thanksgiving celebration, citing classic standbys like mashed potatoes, Mac and cheese, and cranberry sauce. Many students celebrate with food, gifts and music that reflect their family’s ethnic and/or immigrant heritage, and some students don’t celebrate the holiday in any form for cultural or religious reasons. We had some parade enthusiasts, but almost everyone is most excited to get some rest! These conversations highlight how MMC students embody the diversity that is a pillar of our community. Regardless of how you relate to the holiday, we wish everyone a wonderful break and look forward to seeing you all return for fall semester’s Final Stretch. As always, a gentle reminder to be kind, stay safe, and treat yourself to some rest and relaxation during your time off.

Welcome back to the 255! As we enter November, we wanted to bring another segment of our #InClassToday series to showcase the awesome activities going on in our virtual classrooms. Today we highlight Professor Epelbaum’s Writing Seminar, where they welcomed Martha Eddy to lead an experiential workshop. We reached out to some students to hear their takeaways from the event.

Martha Eddy is an international advocate of Somatic Movement Education & Therapy as well as Somatic Movement Dance Education. She is the author of Mindful Movement. The Evolution of the Somatic Arts and Conscious Action in which she defines the origins of a new holistic field, somatic movement education and therapy, and its impact on fitness, ecology, politics and performance. For those who are unfamiliar, Dynamic Embodiment Somatic Movement Therapy is a type of experiential education that conveys how to maximize embodied cognition for deeper psycho-physical understanding.

Dr. Martha Eddy visited Professor Epelbaum’s class to engage students with their whole self in observing and writing, and to explore the differentiation of their ‘writers’ voice through subtle embodiment techniques. Overall, both faculty and student, thoroughly enjoyed the event. Check out what some of the students had to say below.


I really enjoyed the embodiment and writing workshop. It helped me connect my writing, my body and emotions, which is something I never thought about. Dr. Eddy had us walk around and perform movements that we thought related to the word she gave us. After that, we wrote down how these movements made us feel. I loved being able to connect movement with writing and emotions because I think all three of these aspects can help me achieve authentic writing. We also went outside. Here, we listened to Dr. Eddy run us through a sort of guided meditation. Being outside was a different experience because we got to walk around and take in the nature and the vastness of the outside world. Overall, I loved this experience and it made think about writing in a totally different way.

Alexis George

The workshop was extremely beneficial and eye-opening. It allowed me to connect my body to my spirit/mind. It connected writing as thinking as we connected our bodies to our thoughts. Overall, I grew from the experience and I can now express my body through my words and vice versa. 

Hannah Van Gelder

I thought that the video we saw was very inspiring and something that motivated me to make a difference in my future rather than focusing on myself. It made me realize that it’s important to make differences rather than just chasing your dreams.

Anonymous Writing Student

We would like to thank Professor Epelbaum for sharing her in-class activities and Dr. Eddy for bringing her knowledge and research regarding experiential educational learning to the MMC community. We look forward to our next #InClassToday segment as the semester winds down. As always, a gentle reminder to be kind, stay safe, and always express yourself.

Welcome back to the 255! We would like to send you all our warmest regards as the seasons continue to rapidly change and semester quickly progresses. This week, we will address the election and encourage of all our viewers to get out there and vote. No matter your political affiliation, it is important that we remind everyone of their constitutional right to participate in our democracy. Taking advantage of this particular moment, we reached out with members of the MMC community and asked them a few questions regarding their prospectives on voting and the upcoming election!

  1. Why do you believe it is important to vote?

I think it is important to vote because the simple action of doing so can set the tone of not only your life but the entire nation. Voting is a form of raising our voices and speaking up for what we care about. And alternatively, not voting is simply not caring about what could happen. Vote even if the aftermath of this election doesn’t seem to affect you, and use that privilege to educate others about voting because at the end of the day, people’s lives depend on it, even if yours doesn’t. Every vote makes a difference and so does yours.

Giselle Caraballo, Psychology Major, Class of 2022

2. What gives you hope and allows you to remain optimistic regarding the upcoming election?

I find hope in seeing the changing world. Each day I am reminded by individuals who raise their voices, amplify their issues, and protest in the streets of the progress that we are making towards a more equitable society. Despite the many times that I become discouraged by the response and actions of our government, I try to focus on the movement and progress we, as a nation, are making. I look to history to remind myself of all of the changemakers that have fought these battles since the beginning of time. I remain optimistic as I find myself following the footsteps of those who have long fought these fights before my generation. I see the change that we as a society are demanding. I see movements such as the Black Lives Matter and Sun Rise and I am given hope that we CAN win this battle. And it is inevitably that hope that I hold on to, because if I didn’t I would forget what I am fighting for.

Dorian Provencher, International Studies and Politics & Human Rights Major, Class of 2022

3. What inspired you to vote this election? What are productive tactics you believe help inspire younger generations to vote?

Voting is the absolute least any of us can do in a democratic society. America has never been a true democracy, and yet throughout history disenfranchised groups have fought to exercise this right. Especially black and brown folks. Voting is how we hold one another accountable, and how we realize the ideal vision of a democratic nation (which, for the record, is more than the original vision of the founding fathers.) Voting is one way we take care of our community, and as we’ve seen, if we sleep on it some will try to make it harder. But they give themselves away. If it didn’t matter they wouldn’t try so hard to stop us from being heard. That’s the truth that is too loud to ignore.

Alexandra Dill, Administrative Assistant for the Humanities and Social Sciences Division

4. Do you consider yourself to be politically active? Why or why not? Has your activity increased or decreased overtime?

I do consider myself to be politically active. Although I definitely was not in high school, I became aware of the importance of politics and the effects that it has on my everyday life. I actually came to MMC to study Theatre Arts, but after a class in International Relations and Politics, I knew that this field of study was the track for me. I believe my engagement with politics has evolved overtime. Though I believe that we need to consistently put pressure on the government – no matter the administration – to uphold and protect our most basic human rights, the Trump administrations horrific actions against minority communities is what pushed me to become more engaged in the political world. No matter the result of this election, I will continually advocate for the protection of all individuals’ basic human rights. It is about time that this nation begins to reflect on the very thing that is embedded at its constitutional foundation “We The People.” I truly believe that the more we demand our government reflect who we are as a nation, the better off this country will be for everyone. And that starts with being politically active.

Dorian Provencher, International Studies and Politics & Human Rights Major, Class of 2022

Thank you to all of the individuals that took the time to answer our questions! We are thrilled to get students perspectives on political participation as their involvement is crucial for the progression of the US democracy. For individuals wanting to know more about the voting process and that it entails, please check out the link [here]. We would finally like to gently remind everyone to be kind, stay safe, vote when called to and stay hopeful.