The thing you should keep in mind about Thanksgiving   Leave a comment

From a historical context, it has nothing to do with the path of conquest and expansion European immigrants would ave across North America. At the time the first Thanksgiving took place, the Pigrims were on the verge of dying off. When the Wampanoag approached them, the Pilgrims were dying off on their own. They could’ve just sat back and watched the settlers die off but they chose not to. They chose to act. They chose to save Plymouth.

Many New England Native Americans and other groups against the national holiday on the grounds of what happened to the Indigenous Tribes of North America over the next 250 years have no historical basis for their objection to the holiday. If anything, America owes the Wampanoag tribe its thanks as without them, there would have been no Thanksgiving, no Boston Tea Party and no American Revolution. It’s true that after a war, what happened is initially written by the winners but in time, the full truth will be made known.

If I were a different person I would chose this moment to point out the fact what happened to Africans stolen from their homes and sold into slavery over the course of 400 years on almost every continent is a whole lot worse. I will say that the irony with many hate groups is thanks to modern technology and geneology records, we now know very few people who came to Massachusetts on the Mayflower ever left New England. Most of them died off during that first winter, after all.

Due to superstitions and relgious beliefs it is also unlikely the Pilgrims married and had families with the Wampanoag and vice versa. They learned from each other and helped each other. The Wampanoag knew the land and knew how to farm on what is still considered today one of the most difficult places to grow crops on. The Pilgrims shared their technology with the Wampanoag as well as English with the help of Squanto, a Native American who lived among Europeans in his younger days.

What happened after that period cannot be blamed on that first contact between the two factions. The blame should be placed on misunderstandings and assumptions made by both sides over the years. The Windtalkers are the epitome of what happens when both sides work together for a common cause. For those who don’t know, the Windtalkers were Native Americans who fought in World War II and transmitted coded messages from the battlefield to field commanders in the Pacific Theater in their native tongue. A source of pride for the Windtalkers is they still stand as the only people whose radio messages were never decoded by the enemy in American history during war. There is a very good reason for this. Until about 70 years earlier, few Native American tribes had a written language. It was only oral and is still mainly learned this way today.

So in closing, Thanksgivinng is a time of understanding. While yes I believe everyone should know about what happened to the Native Americans, on the other hand not everyone views Thanksgiving as a national holiday. The American Public and Native Americans have a shared history that isn’t exactly pretty. Just like it doesn’t make any sense for African Americans today to demand an apology from their white counterparts for things that happened over the last 400 years, it’s wholly unrealistic to expect the every0ne to do the same for Native Americans. Even if I wasn’t a black man I’d still say that.

To those who will forgo this holiday objectively, I reccommend you use this time as an opportunity to educate someone on what Thanksgiving means to you and explain why what happened should never be forgotten. As the saying goes, those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it.

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