In 1620, months before the Mayflower docked on those rocky shores of present-day Massachusetts, the land was inhabited by Native Americans. Home of the Wampanoag people for over 12,000 years, it was a popular tourist destination among European settlers.
News broke that year that a group of English Protestants were planning to break away from the Church of England and migrate to America. Most of the indigenous Wampanoag were okay with this, having encountered many good-natured European fishermen and traders before.
Others were hesitant, reminding their fellow Wampanoag that these people belong to a subset of the religion responsible for The Crusades. “Um, hello, war against the Turks? Children’s Crusade of 1212? Ring any bells?” they would say.
Some chose to quote biblical scripture. “Look. Look at this,” one Wampanoag chief would say, pointing into a King James Bible. “Deuteronomy 20:14. Says here if you kill your enemies you get to keep their women. What the hell, man?”
“Do we really want the John Eliots of the world coming here and teaching our kids this shit?” he’d add.
The more levelheaded of the Wampanoag put forth the idea that most members of the Christian faith interpret scripture in the modern “love each other” way as opposed to the archaic “kill gay dudes with rocks” way, suggesting their dissent from Roman Catholicism and pilgrimage here was a path to practicing religion freely.
Some Wampanoag villages remained wary. Some chiefs refused to allow settlers altogether. “They’re going to Virginia, guys. Calm down,” others would say, prompting discussion of the failed attempt at society that was the Jamestown settlement years prior. Other chiefs proposed a precautionary Separatist database, just to be safe.
But, after much kicking and screaming, the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth and eventually everyone sat down and had a nice potluck dinner.
Following this nice meal were centuries of now whitewashed genocide and injustice against people who now serve as some of our most popular sports mascots.
Which just goes to show that immigrants have just as much if not more reason to fear current Americans as the other way around.