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THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

Remember ugly but true meaning of Thanksgiving

Courtesy Eric Pancer (flickr)

Courtesy Eric Pancer (flickr)

Anna Silver, Opinion Editor

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A long, wooden table, pilgrims on one side donning black hats with buckles, and Native Americans on the other, colorful food platters covering every inch of the table; This mental image is one many Americans have when they think of Thanksgiving.

However, the hotly debated “true” history of Thanksgiving is far from this friendly meal of the new companionship between natives and the white settlers. According to the Huffington Post, the holiday we celebrate on the fourth Thursday of every November to count our blessings holds an entirely different meaning for natives. Many natives claim that after European pilgrims would destroy a native village, they would celebrate their victory with a feast.

While historians debate the actual history behind the holiday, according to the Huffington Post, many do believe that the traditional feast is tied to celebrations the European settlers had after the killing of many native people and destruction of homes in the fifteenth century and beyond. Unfortunately, like many historic events, American public schools have a tendency to paint history in such a way that favors white Americans’ reputations which is why many schoolchildren and adults in this nation have never heard this tragic tale before.

Natives often, instead, have a “Day of Mourning” on Thanksgiving Day in which they gather to honor their ancestors who suffered and died at the hands of early European settlers, according to a Facebook page made for the event. In fact, Plymouth, Massachusetts hosts a Day of Mourning every year on Cole’s Hill to protest the mistreatment of Natives. The Plymouth protest’s 2016 Facebook page summary reads, “Since 1970, Native Americans have gathered at noon on Cole’s Hill in Plymouth to commemorate a National Day of Mourning on the US Thanksgiving holiday…[it] is a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native people, the theft of Native lands, and the relentless assault on Native culture.”

So, just remember that while you’re watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade or helping your uncle cut the turkey, natives across the country are protesting the commodification of the discrimination they have faced and continue to face as citizens in this country.

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Remember ugly but true meaning of Thanksgiving