Thanksgiving is a sham

Have you ever sat back and really though about what Thanksgiving means?

As little children in elementary schools we were all told, at one point or another, that Thanksgiving was created to immortalize the connection made between the pilgrims and their Native American “friends.” That the turkey and assorted side dishes we would be eating with our families was in reference to the food shared between the fledgling pilgrim settlers and their indigenous settlers. But, as we’ve grown older, the majority of us have not bothered to sit back and really question the validity of this mindset. Why not? Is it because early settlers did not, in fact, sit down and bond with America’s indigenous tribal representatives over maize and turkey? Is it because trying to sell a holiday where we celebrate the combination of ruining a virgin land while being responsible for a near genocide of an entire culture would be near impossible?

Let’s be honest with ourselves. The men and women who settled America for the European empires, regardless of whether or not they were trying to achieve “religious freedom” or a foothold to reach China and Japan for trade, were not saints. And they did not make friends with the men and women who were already living here. Let’s dispel that myth right now. The pilgrims did not walk into the camps of the Native Americans and ask for a proverbial cup of sugar. And the children of these early settlers did not view the progeny of Native Americans as equal. If you still think that early colonists were on the best of terms with the tribes that they were living next to than, sadly, you are living in a dream.

Ask any man or woman, descended from any Native American tribe, what stories they were told pertaining to Thanksgiving while growing up. Chances are relatively high that the stories they told around the table will be drastically different than the ones we were told as children. One of the greatest travesties committed in the history of this planet is the treatment that the American Indians received once Europeans appeared on the scene. Wholesale genocide and the destruction of the lands that were sacred to everyone other than European settlers. And we celebrate this first interaction with a holiday called Thanksgiving?

There is nothing whatsoever that we should be thankful for in a historical sense when looking back on the interactions between settlers and the men and women that they stole from and murdered.

Will this mindset change in future generations? Most likely it will not. Will our own children, assuming we have any of course, be correctly educated about the earliest interactions between European settlers and American Natives? Chances are very slim. And it is that fact that makes this situation all the more sad and infuriating for those who know the truth. So when you are sitting down to a turkey meal with your family, at least be aware of what really happened, and don’t buy into the myth that we were all told as children.