Thanksgiving is the commemoration of Mayflower settlers communing with the Wampanoag people, a Native American tribe that taught them how to cultivate the land after arriving on the coast near Cape Cod. The food tradition we now enjoy is derived from traditions in both English and Indian cultures. 

According to the article Native America and the Mayflower, “For many years, the Native American people have celebrated days of thanksgiving, long before the English colonists arrived. The English, like many other cultures, also had a tradition of ‘thanksgiving’ celebrations.”  

The First Thanksgiving is thought to have been sometime between September 21 and November 9, 1621. According to the article Celebrating National Native American Heritage Month, U.S. President George H. W. Bush designated the month of November as the first Native American Heritage Month in 1990. 

Randy’L Teton, the public affairs manager for Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, says Indian tribes petitioned Congress for a national day of recognition as early as 1919. 

While early Indians are often referred to under the umbrella term Native Americans, there are several tribes that have made unique contributions to early American history even in Idaho. 

“Here in Southeastern Idaho, we have the Shoshone, the Bannock, the Paiute … the Crows that also came close into the Idaho region, so there is definitely a rich history of the Native American cultures here,” Teton said.  

The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes located in Fort Hall are celebrating their heritage this month with a week full of activities outlined in the calendar below.

A calendar showing the activities this week