Should We Still Celebrate Thanksgiving?
By: Alexandre Torri
This is a controversial topic that people today argue over. People argue that it's part of our country's history while others say that Thanksgiving was a myth. According to www.time.com (quoting an article written by a Native American),
"It was the Wampanoag in 1621 who helped the first wave of Puritans arriving on our shores, showing them how to plant crops, forage for wild foods and basically survive. The first official mention of a “Thanksgiving” celebration occurs in 1637, after the colonists brutally massacre an entire Pequot village, then subsequently celebrate their barbaric victory."
I don't know about you, but I don't want to celebrate a national holiday deep rooted in massacres. Many people celebrate Thanksgiving as a way of expressing thanks for food on the table-ignoring the past and brutal myth. Others, like University of St. Francis Junior Leslie Delgado said, "Some people don't even know the origins and history of the holiday." Another reason people celebrate Thanksgiving is because it gives a reason for families to get together.
This holiday's origin is full of hatred. Quoting www.time.com once again,
"Years later, President Washington first tried to start a holiday of Thanksgiving in 1789, but this has nothing to do with “Indians and settlers, instead it’s intended to be a public day of “thanksgiving and prayer.” (That the phrase “Merciless Savage Indians” is written into the Declaration of Independence says everything we need to know about how the founders of America viewed the Indigenous Peoples of this land)."
This statement really speaks volumes on the founders of this country. According to www.mountvernon.org, "The elder Washington's reputation was remembered, and when the Native Americans met his great-grandson in 1753, they called George Washington by the same name, Conotocarious." Conotocarious translates to “Town-Destroyer” because he raided Native American villages and slaughtered them all (women and children included).
Luckily today's Indigenous Movement is setting things right especially when changing national holidays' names. Columbus Day became Indigenous Peoples' Day, and according to www.bustle.com, "November is Native American Heritage Month.” Thanksgiving can also be known as Native American Heritage Day. It is also called "National Day of Mourning" to remember their ancestors.
I'm not saying to stop this holiday in general. Instead, I’d like to recreate it and use it as a day of recognizing Native Americans. People should realize that the Natives helped us develop the first successful settlements, and we should thank them properly by honoring their culture. For example, it is only respectful to stop dressing up as Native Americans if your ancestors aren't indigenous. You can also help by buying things Native-made NOT Native-inspired and educate people about the true history. Also, according to www.nea.org, (National Education Association),
"Replace 'Indians' and 'Pilgrims' with more specific names: Wampanoag and English or Separatists. As responsible educators, we need to encourage our students to use more accurate terms, tell the story of the Wampanoag, who were instrumental in helping the English survive. It's important for students to learn that Wampanoag still exists today and research Native tribes in your area and invite them to give a lesson at your school."
This will help to utilize the school systems to their best potential while educating properly and helping future students to understand a rich culture the right way. Reading history by a Native American or looking at history through their eyes will broaden your perspective on life and culture.