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National Geographic Channel (tv network)

'Saints & Strangers' and 'Pilgrims' make clear Thanksgiving's thorny origins

'Saints & Strangers' and 'Pilgrims' make clear Thanksgiving's thorny origins

Depending on your viewpoint, it is either fitting or ironic that a heightened debate over various immigration issues should occur in the U.S. during the month of November.

The United States proudly defines itself as a nation of immigrants, and nothing makes this more clear than our affection for the story of Thanksgiving. Fleeing a repressive religious state, a small group of refugees relocated to what is now Massachusetts, where, with the aid of friendly natives, they fought the odds (and non-friendly natives) to plant the seeds of this great nation.

This year, two television specials — "Saints & Strangers," a two-part drama on National Geographic Channel,...