At a time when Republican presidential hopefuls are tripping all over each other in their mad scramble to be tougher than the next candidate on the issue of illegal immigration, I like to remind people that Thanksgiving is more than a day on which we give thanks to God and others for what we have. It is the day we remember that America's first illegal immigrants and undocumented workers were our Pilgrim forefathers. Luckily for the English settlers, the Wampanoag didn't ask them to show their papers!
Incidentally, the painting above is by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, an American painter known for his series The Pageant of a Nation. His paintings have been criticized for showing idealized and historically inaccurate portrayals of key moments in American history. In The First Thanksgiving 1621, the black outfits the Pilgrims are shown wearing are not correct, and the Wampanoag did not wear such feathered war bonnets. They would not have been sitting on the ground, either.