By the time those Pilgrims landed and celebrated Thanksgiving at Plymouth back in 1621, Oak Bluffs still belonged to the original people who called it Ogkeshkuppe, part of the Nunnepog Sachemship (or tribe). Back then the 3,000 original people called Martha’s Vineyard “Noe-ope” (Noepe). For centuries they fished and farmed and founded a benign and mutually beneficial culture that was a tad male dominant, where women wound up doing most of the work. Different from today’s society however, land rights were passed down through the mother’s side of the family.

In 1613, a group of English sea captains including John Smith, decided to take some hostages back to England, one of whom was a Nunnepog named Epanow. During the year of his captivity he was smart enough to learn that the English would do anything for gold, including returning him to his home to find some. Once arriving back in 1614, Epanow made his escape with the help of 20 canoes filled with friends and relatives, who the bamboozled English were led to believe had come to trade for gold. In 1621, the year of the first Thanksgiving, Captain Thomas Dermer, an earlier visitor, landed at Nunnepog with his crew which was ‘set upon’ and many of the crew were killed. Dermer himself never recovered from his wounds. Remarkably, that was the only time the original people and the new white immigrants clashed in the history of the Island — of course not counting the disease brought inadvertently that killed off 90 per cent of the original people over the next few years.

Meanwhile, over in Plymouth after the Mayflower’s arrival, the one written account by participant Edward Winslow first published in 1622 described the three-day event noting the harvest of corn and barley with a few peas, wild turkey and five deer King Massasoit and his 90 men contributed. This formed the parable of Thanksgiving. Winslow didn’t mention what author Nathaniel Philbrick noted: how the Mayflower’s trip around the Cape included the new settlers’ desecration of graves and looting of corn, beans and other stores as they found their way to their new home. Of the 102 passengers and 50 crewmen that left England, 53 were left alive in March 1621 when they built huts ashore. The original people steered the newcomers to local food such as clams, mussels, lobster, eel, ground nuts, acorns, walnuts, chestnuts, squashes, beans and strawberries, raspberries, grapes, and gooseberries. Jim Murphy, in his book Gone A-Whaling, indicates that the Mayflower — roughly the size of the Shenandoah — was used as a whaling ship before bringing the Pilgrims, and went on to Greenland to continue participating in the decimation of the whales for food, oil and manufacturing material. It’s easier to call it “Thankstaking” instead of Thanksgiving — and another reason to call today’s pagan celebration “Black Friday.”

At last week’s Martha’s Vineyard Museum presentation about our soon-to-be renovated new museum above the Lagoon, Anne Cummings teased me about getting the name of the Oak Bluffs Cemetery wrong. Disagreeing, I told her that it is comprised of four names; Sacred Heart, Sea View Hill, Adams Lookout and Oak Grove. Then she stunned me by telling me that people who live in Oak Bluffs can’t be buried there!

Tomorrow evening at 7:30 is the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society’s Thanksgiving concert at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown.

On Tuesday, state officials are returning to Oak Bluffs to meet with town officials and the Oak Bluffs Association to work toward improvements to help boost tourism. There will also be a discussion from 1 to 3 p.m. for public input. You can check the Oak Bluffs website for more information. Chuckle.

The annual Oak Bluffs tree lighting is Wednesday evening at 6:30 p.m. at Healy Square (the post office) – please bring canned goods for the food pantry.

Starting Thursday for eight weeks those creative folks at the Oak Bluffs library are hosting “Little Yogis,” a yoga class for ages four to six. Preregistration is required for the eight available slots at 508-693-9433, extension 141. Aren’t kids that age made of rubber anyway? By the way, Facebook fans, the library is looking for 400 more “likes” if you have a moment.

Saturday is the Martha’s Vineyard NAACP Annual Holiday Bazaar from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the regional high school’s cafeteria, please stop by.

Congratulations to new grandfather Todd Rebello, he of the several holes-in-one at Farm Neck and local entrepreneur who beat 590 other “Hold ‘Em” poker players at Las Vegas’ Venetian Hotel on Nov. 8. Todd’s next stop on the World Series of Poker tour is at Harrah’s in New Jersey. Good luck, Todd!

On Nov. 30, 1973, the originator of this column, Dorothy West wrote about Thanksgiving: “As always happens in a large and loving family, a house worth its salt will stretch and strain to accommodate them. The grownups and teenagers ate in the dining room, and the little ones ate in the kitchen, and nobody wanted to be anyplace else in the world.” I hope yours yesterday was at least as good.

Oh, yeah — Anne Cummings got me so I thought I’d share: people who LIVE in Oak Bluffs can’t be buried in Oak Grove — they aren’t dead yet. Gotcha!

Keep your foot on a rock.