What happens when the official narrative of Thanksgiving is a lie and the American Indians have to survive a whitewashing piece of history. Do they celebrate or remember?
For many, Thanksgiving is a day to be grateful for everything you have, your family and friends or even for surviving one more pandemic year, however, for others such as American Indians is a day to remember a dark period of American history in which land was taken away one of the less spoken genocides in the world.
For Native Americans, Thanksgiving is more of a day to make peace with a national holiday that glorifies the encounter of English settlers and the Wampanoag tribe that led to a loss of people and territory.
The Thanksgiving myth
Let’s remember that the official story tells that Thanksgiving is a celebration mimicking the one Pilgrims and Native Americans held in 1621 as a way of thanking the Wampanoag tribe for teaching the English settlers to survive in the New Land and share with them their crops.
However, what really happened is that this kind of feast and a celebration to give thanks was not an English-introduced concept. According to Smithsonian Magazine, the New England tribes already had an autumn harvest feast and for the original people of this continent, every day is a day to thank the Creator.
The first shared feast Native Americans shared with the Pilgrims back in 1621 was per invitation by William Bradford, the governor of the Plymouth Colony.
That time, Massasoit, the Grand Sachem of the Wampanoag Federation, came with warriors who brought food such as venison, lobster, fish, wildfowl, clams, oysters, eel, corn, squash, and maple syrup. Some of these are still the main ingredients in traditional Thanksgiving dishes.
Another key element in this story is that Thanksgiving was made official in 1863 by President Lincoln in an attempt to heal de divided nation after Civil War.
How do American Indians remember Thanksgiving?
American Indians remember rather than celebrate. In communities near the New England area, natives gather to remember the genocide committed to Indian tribes.
In Plymouth, the United American Indians of New England meet at Plymouth Rock for a Day of Mourning. They gather at the feet of a statue of Grand Sachem Massasoit of the Wampanoag.
Others, just gather with families and friends as the native tribes did to have a large feast and give thanks, being careful to not forget what really happened.