Many Hoops Website Clarifying the True Story of Thanksgiving Expands Its Content and Audience

Since the Wilmette Institute’s November article on the Many Hoops website was published (, Paula Bidwell and Lea Gerlach have continued to expand the site. And information about the site continues to grow.

New to the site is “Squanto’s Coloring Book for Baha’i Children’s Classes.” To see it and to print out copies, click on Then choose “Coloring Pages – Thanksgiving,” then “Squanto Coloring Book – Baha’i Children’s Classes.” You can preview the new coloring book. Or you can print out copies by clicking on the pdf icon.

The coloring book includes large outline drawings for children to color, historical copy about the life of Squanto, and passages from the Bahá’í writings that relate to challenges Squanto faced. Squanto has been part of the Thanksgiving story in the United States for many years. This coloring book provides a deeper understanding of Squanto and of some of the early European settlers in America.

Squanto, a member of the Wampanoag Nation, lived on the eastern shores of what has become the United Sates. He was kidnapped by British sailors (along with many of his relatives) and sold into slavery in Spain where he was freed by monks who were following the Pope’s law forbidding the enslavement of Native people in the Americas. With the monks’ help, he began a voyage to return to his native land. But when the ship landed in England, Squanto was enslaved again. Despite ill treatment, he learned English and was eventually able to board a ship sailing for America as an interpreter between the English and the Native people.

When Squanto arrived back in his native land, after a ten year’s absence, he was met with disappointment, for disease had wiped out his native village. The following winter, pilgrims began to arrive and to settle on the site of his village. The next spring Squanto and two other Natives opened communications with the pilgrims, teaching them to hunt, fish, and plant crops. Squanto also helped to forge the longest peace treaty between the European colonists and the Native people in America.

The article published in the November issue of the Wilmette Institute’s eNewsletter has been mentioned in Facebook postings and has been applauded by a number of people on personal websites. On Thanksgiving Day the Office of Communications at the U.S. National Bahá’í Center published an adaptation of the article in the U.S. Bahá’í News, which is distributed primarily to a non-Bahá’í audience (