Archive for November 25th, 2009

The First Thanksgiving in Texas

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

This is Passport to Texas

Spanish Explorer Coronado and his expedition celebrated the first Thanksgiving in Palo Duro Canyon in May 1541—80 years before the Pilgrims.

And they celebrated by eating the wild game in the area: buffalo, wild fowl, and other things.

Jeff Murrah is an author and sixth generation Texan living in the Hill Country who writes extensively about Texas history.

They [Coronado’s expedition] had been traveling up into New Mexico and across Texas. When they finally made it to Texas, they had been in the Palo Duro Canyon area. And there had been some rough weather they had recently experienced. They had made it through that with the shelter of the canyon, and they wished to express thankfulness.

Murrah says there were 300 in the expedition and their Thanksgiving celebration took place over several days.

I like this Thanksgiving. Not only was it large, but I think it captures more the idea that many cultures contributed to. Because when you stick with the whole idea of the Pilgrim’s Thanksgiving, you’re either a Pilgrim or an Indian. But here you’ve got Indians, Spaniards, Portuguese, French, Italians, Scots, and Blacks in the party. You had people from many different backgrounds all coming together to give thanks.

So why do Pilgrims get all the credit for this feast day?

They did a better marketing campaign?

Happy Thanksgiving…for Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

You can find more information on early Thanksgiving celebrations in Texas in Jeff Murrah’s Book on Texas history, Texans Always Move Them. And you can find the book at this website: