12 Angry Pilgrims (Reach A Settlement)

“All rise! The case of Chief Ousamequin of the Wampanoag Indians v. The Pilgrims is now in session. The honorable Willie B. Upright presiding.”

Judge Upright: “Before I discharge you to the Jury Room, I want to remind jurors that there is to be no discussion of this case beyond this courtroom.”

Juror Five: “Does that mean, Your Honor, that we can’t even talk about it in the loo? I need to go to the loo.”

Judge Upright: “No. You cannot discuss these proceedings with anyone other than fellow jurors. Let me remind the jury that before you is the case of whether to continue perpetuating –– in our public schools –– the Thanksgiving story of 1620; whether it is appropriate to have children dress up in long black skirts and white shirts, wear craft store feather headdresses and don black construction paper hats; whether it is proper to retell the Thanksgiving story, passed down through generations –– the story of Native Americans welcoming the courageous pioneering Pilgrims to a celebratory feast, when evidence, today, indicates that the story is plagued with inaccuracies and falsehoods. I discharge you to your deliberations.”


Juror Six: “I’m glad that’s over. All this better not make me late for Thanksgiving dinner. I told everyone I’d be there by noon. I still think we can wrap this up in time.”

Juror One: “Don’t be in such a hurry. We haven’t even elected a foreman, yet.”

Juror Five: “Did any of you see the loo when we came down the hallway? I had the oysters at the Plymouth Tavern, and I really need to find the loo.”

Juror Ten: “I nominate Juror Four as foreman. He’s the only one in the room who knows how to use ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ properly.”

Juror Six: “Why bother with a foreman? It is obvious that the Pilgrims are innocent. These sad Puritans were tired of getting picked on for their religious beliefs back in England, and someone had the crazy notion of sailing across the ocean to get away. To me, they should be admired for their daring.”

Juror Nine: “Do they serve snacks in here? I’m hungry.”

Juror Seven: “Yeah, but the Pilgrims brought all kinds of diseases with them that overwhelmed the Native American’s immune systems.”

Juror Six: “That’s hardly the Pilgrims’ fault! They didn’t plan on it. Viruses weren’t even discovered until 1898, some 278 years later. They had no way of knowing. That’s like blaming some dude for showing up at his wedding, and learning that his ex-wife is Matron of Honor. It’s horrible, but did he really have a say in it?”

Juror Eleven: “Did anyone wonder why there are no women on this jury?”

Juror Three: “Not now, Eleven! By the way, that’s a smart-looking belt buckle you have there. Gucci?”

Juror Seven: “The Pilgrims ultimately cheated the Wampanoags out of much of their land and resources. The Wampanoags consider Thanksgiving to be a day of mourning, not celebration. They should get reparations.”

Juror Six: “That’s just business. It wasn’t the Pilgrims’ fault that the locals weren’t great business people. Next you’ll be blaming Elon Musk for ruining Twitter!”

Juror Twelve: “But the Native Americans were friendly to the Pilgrims. They offered them peace.”

Juror Six: “Only because the Wampanoags were getting their butts kicked by the Narragansetts. The Pilgrims were partly welcomed because their alliance shifted the balance of power with their rivals.”

Juror Nine: “Does anyone smell gravy?”

Juror Twelve: “None of that matters. It’s about the kids.”

Juror Two: “I still have my construction paper Pilgrims hat. Wanna see it?”


Judge Upright: “Mr. Foreman, has the jury reached a decision?”

Juror Four: “We the jury, after careful consideration, find in favor of The Future.”

Judge Upright: “You what?”

Juror Four: “Yes, Your Honor. It is the belief of this jury that we should not, must not, ignore the past. That we live in a chaotic and sometimes punishing world. That all men and women are created equal, but circumstances nearly always belie that fact. That the first act of peace is always forgiveness. That being truly thankful for who we are, and what we have starts with the full understanding of the costs paid and the debts owed to others. That our children should know that one scene does not tell the whole story. And that it is important to hope, even if reality often disappoints us.”

Judge Upright: “Thank you, jury, for your careful discernment. Was this decision unanimous?”

Juror Four: “We voted 11-0. We couldn’t find Juror Five. We’re pretty sure he was in the loo.”

John O. Marlowe is an award-winning columnist for Sagamore News Media