The Real Thanksgiving Isn’t So Happy

Thanksgiving to me has always felt like one of the most, excuse my language, bullshit holidays there ever was, right up behind Columbus day.

Every year I watch as my family and fellow Americans conveniently forget that there was a whole race of people who didn’t benefit from the colonization of the Americas. We like to tell ourselves that this holiday is about pilgrims and Native Americans coming together to share food and be besties and how that was some sort of beginning to a “happily ever after” I believe we ALL know that is a whole lot of bullshit and lies.

Thanksgiving:
A day that epitomizes how wonderful it is to be a gluttonous, fat, lazy American. A day to sit on stolen land eating food we may have never discovered and watch a sport that was copied from the very shores our ancestors so readily fled. Also conveniently situated on a Thursday, meaning most people end up with a 4-day weekend.

– Urban Dictionary definition for Thanksgiving

As little kids the myth of Columbus and the pilgrims and the Native Americans all sitting down to have a nice meal and give thanks to each other is drilled into us repeatedly. As are a lot of myths and lies about history. The truth is this holiday is about the celebration of the safe return of (white) men who went to fight Native Americans. That battle resulted in the killing and enslavement of over 700 men, women, and children! Think about that when you carve into that turkey this evening.

“A day of Thanksgiving, thanking God that they had eliminated over 700 men, women and children.” It was signed into law that, “This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots.”

The Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, John Winthrop, in 1937 after the killing of the Pequot tribe in Mystic Connecticut

For me, at best this holiday is about the white washing of history and the continued denial of the wrongs done to a whole race of people. At worst this holiday is a celebration of the European invasion which resulted in Native Americans having their lives, their land, and their culture stolen from them. I find it offensive and distasteful and I am ashamed that the whole country just that the genocide of millions of it’s native people’s never happened.

But please do not misunderstand me, I don’t want to get rid of Thanksgiving. What I want to do is change the way we celebrate it. Most people don’t know this but today is also celebrated as a National Day of Mourning. For the past 45 years, Native American and supporters have gathered in Plymouth to honor those who died and raise awareness to the problems still face by Native Americans today.

I propose we all do away with the myths of the past and instead make Thanksgiving about remembering and honoring the people who were here before us. I think we should use this day to remember that America’s history is violent, and bloody, and cruel but it is the true history and we dishonor a whole race of people, who have already been, and continue to be, victimized and devastated when we forget that. When we willfully and quite happily erase their pain and perpetuate myths.

So today, spend time with your family, eat a delicious meal, and remember that there were people who lived on this land before you. Remember that they were murdered and enslaved and forgotten. Remember that their descendants are alive and have to live knowing what they know about the true events of history and knowing they will never have their ancestors land back. Remember them today.

Thanksgiving:
The day white people celebrate being thankful for the land stolen from NATIVE Americans. A day soon to be stolen from everyone by Walmart.
Let us Native Americans be thankful for the white mans food stamps; so we can eat on this day of thanksgiving. Let us also remember the land that we once fed our families from.

– Urban Dictionary definition for Thanksgiving

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Lisa

Hello! My name is Lisa. I find the human condition fascinating and I often write stuff about that. I blog at zenandpi.com but you can also find me on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram, and if you like what I do, consider signing up for my newsletter. Thanks :)

One thought on “The Real Thanksgiving Isn’t So Happy”

  1. Reblogged this on TheKingsKidChronicles and commented:
    I have two viewpoints on this issue. It is true and shameful that our people savagely, murderously stole this land from the people who were here before us. It breaks my heart. For this I am ashamed of “our” people. But not everyone was involved in this treatment of the Native Americans. There were many who honored and respected them. Unfortunately, those people had little or no influence on those were bent on taking what did not rightfully belong to them. However, some white people did have peaceful relations with some Native Americans, and it was the Native Americans who taught those first settlers (mostly city folk) how to grow vegetables and hunt to provide for their families.

    Viewpoint #2: There are many tribes and sub-tribes of Native Americans, who treated each other the same way the white men did, often murdering, butchering, and stealing from tribes different from themselves as they traveled from summer pastrures to winter grazing for their horses and in search of climate where they could survive. It has been reported that the two most peaceful tribes were the Iriquois and the Cherokee. BTW, our history books today are loaded with lies about our founding fathers.

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