Thanksgiving is a time for family, but we must address the faults behind its creation

Published by adviser, Author: The Rocket Staff, Date: November 23, 2016

Traditionally, Thanksgiving is interpreted as a holiday that kicks off the holiday season with a spectacular feast featuring turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and other delicacies. It’s a time to be thankful for what you have and share valuable time with loved ones, maybe particularly with the loved ones you don’t see enough of.

Sure, Thanksgiving is a spectacular American tradition, and a lot of folks look fondly upon the holiday as it reminds them of filling up their bellies and watching NFL football; however, the history of this holiday is actually pretty upsetting.

We all know the story of pilgrims arriving to America on the Mayflower, creating a town on the coast of the Atlantic and learning how to plant crops and survive in the wilderness thanks to the Native Americans who had been living there for centuries beforehand. What wasn’t taught to us in grade school was the true nature behind the legendary feast of the “first” Thanksgiving.

The pilgrims who went to the new land for religious freedom ran into a Native American named Squanto, who already knew some of the English language because he was an escaped slave from an English fleet who captured Native Americans and brought them back to Europe for slavery. In exchange for a peace treaty between the settlers and his tribe, the Pequot Nation, Squanto taught the new settlers how to fish, hunt and plant corn, and at the end of the year the pilgrims threw a feast in honor of Squanto and his tribe.

However, more settlers from England began to arrive, and the problem was that they were religious zealots called Puritans. The Puritans noticed there was no fencing around the native’s village, and considered it a public domain. With the help of pre-existing British settlers in the village, they ordered members of Pequot Nation to come outside; the British then killed all of them except for the strong young ones, who were kept as slaves. As a result, the settlers celebrated their victories with another feast.

Now, of course, the story of Thanksgiving actually isn’t as happy and nice as we’ve been taught in our elementary classes, but this shouldn’t make us shy us away from celebrating the holiday with our families. At this point, many people don’t consider Thanksgiving as a celebration of the story of the pilgrims and Native Americans, but a celebration of the traditions that we’ve created with our families and the memories that go along with it. It’s a time to bond with loved ones, and to continue creating those memories that we fondly look back upon.


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