How Native Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving
Most white Americans celebrate Thanksgiving yearly with good food and other activities. But on this occasion, many Native Americans have different ways of looking at the day. Thanksgiving is a day of giving thanks to many Native Americans but for others, they look at this day as a day of mourning and remembrance.
In order for us to understand this difference, we need to go back to what really happened on the first Thanksgiving day.
In school, children are taught that when the pilgrims arrived in American it was the Native Americans that taught them how to plant food and other items in order to survive. The first thanksgiving feast was in celebration of the abundant harvest that the pilgrims and Native Americans are thankful for.
This story, however, is not what actually happened. The pilgrims settled at Plymouth because the Native Americans had died of the plague. Squanto, the Native American who had helped the pilgrims previously, was made into a slave. The Native Americans in the next few centuries became slaves, being killed, persecuted, and robbed by the pilgrims.
And this is why Native Americans look at the first Thanksgiving as a violent past while the white Americans look at it as a day of giving thanks.
Over time, however, the holiday has changed. People still tell the story of the first Thanksgiving day but most celebrations today simply center on family, food, and gratitude. If you want to learn about Thanksgiving history and traditions, read on here.
And because of the way it is being celebrated today, there are many Native Americans who do celebrate this day. Thanksgiving for them gives them a chance to continue a heritage of helping people in need. Others, though, treat this day as a remembrance of the people’s resilience and their survival from the oppression.
Schools today still teach the story of the first Thanksgiving but many anti-racist organizations are asking them to be more aware of the real history of the day. They encourage teachers to provide more accurate information about the culture of the native Americans.
This painful past can simply be ignored by white people. You can celebrate Thanksgiving by giving your family an idea of what the first Thanksgiving was for both pilgrims and Native Americans. The past cannot simply be ignored by Native Americans.
While many Native Americans find Thanksgiving as an opportunity to remember their heritage and give thanks for life, others see it as a painful remembrance of a great period of suffering and oppression.