As Thanksgiving nears, Americans should dig deeply into its history

Thanksgiving is a day celebrated by many and rejected by others. The story taught in American elementary schools is that the settlers and Native Americans had the best time and ate food together. Although the celebration of the harvest did happen, many more traumatic and important events occurred that are overshadowed, like the massacres and genocide that happened to the Wampanoag people for many years after Thanksgiving.

It’s understandable to make everything sunshine and rainbows for children, but the truth is also very important. School should teach that Thanksgiving is also a day of mourning. The United American Indians of England established the fourth Thursday of November to be a National Day of Mourning for Native Americans and their allies. Students deserve to know and be represented for who they are and what they celebrate. One side is being told and others are ignored. The Wampanoag tribe was there long before the settlers arrived to find new land. An alliance was made so Wampanoag could have more protection, but lines were blurred and crossed, which led to war. It was bloody and a lot of people died from both sides. This tragedy is overshadowed by Thanksgiving traditions and false teaching. 

Should we even celebrate this holiday anymore? It’s becoming a more and more prominent question, because of ignored history. Others can also argue that Thanksgiving has become more of a family holiday, that it’s time for people to go to their families and eat together. The history isn’t commemorated, but traditions for each family are followed. Some would say that it’s important for communities to have time to reflect and be thankful for all they have had, but some aren’t getting the recognition they deserve, so should our history books be rewritten? Should Thanksgiving be canceled, or can we separate the past from the present? What can be done to still celebrate the future and honor the past? 

Don’t ignore the history that shaped our country, but be thankful that you have the freedom to choose what this holiday means to you.

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