How Native Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving
When Thanksgiving day arrives, most white Americans celebrate it with good food and many activities. But the Native Americans have different views of the occasion. While there are some Native Americans who treat Thanksgiving as a day of giving thanks, others would rather look at it as a day of mourning and remembrance.
The difference in the treatment of Thanksgiving day can be traced to the actual event that took place on the first Thanksgiving day.
When we first learned the story of Thanksgiving in school, we looked upon it as a wonderful day of thanking the Lord for the abundant harvest that they were given, thanks to the Native Americans who taught the pilgrims how to plant 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 reason why the pilgrims settled at Plymouth was that many Native Americans had died of the plague. Soon Squanto, a Native American who taught pilgrims many things, was captured and 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.
Time has many celebration of the holiday different. People still tell the story of the first Thanksgiving day but most celebrations today simply center on family, food, and gratitude. If you read on here, you will learn about the traditions and history of Thanksgiving.
And because of the way it is being celebrated today, there are many Native Americans who do celebrate this day. Celebrating this day for them gives them a chance to continue a heritage of extending grace to anyone who needs it. Some others celebrate their people’s resilience and the fact that they have survived 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. Teachers are encouraged to provide more accurate information about Native American Culture.
If you are white, you can simply ignore this painful past. But you can celebrate this day by talking to your family about what the first Thanksgiving meant to both the pilgrims and the Native Americans. The past cannot simply be ignored by Native Americans.
For the Native American, thanksgiving can be an opportunity to remember their heritage and give thanks for life, but it can also be a painful remembrance of a period of great suffering and oppression.