Thanksgiving is a time for families to come together, break bread, and think about everything they are grateful for. That's how generations of families were brought up.
Unfortunately, that isn't the real story of Thanksgiving.
For Native Americans, Thanksgiving is not a celebration - it's a national day of mourning. It's a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native Americans, the assault on Native American culture, and the theft of Native American land.
If it weren't for Native Americans, the English thieves would not have had a successful harvest. Once the English thieves got what they wanted, however, they broke their cooperation with the Native Americans. Native Americans were slaughtered by the millions.
"Soo...how do I participate in Thanksgiving?"
You can tell the true story of Thanksgiving. You can remember the Native American men, women and children that were slaughtered unjustly.
"Isn't that a bit somber?" Yes, but don't you think that it's even worse for the Native Americans? They are watching illegals break bread on their land. For generations, it has been a painful reminder of what their ancestors went through.
"Fair enough. What do I tell my kids about the story of Thanksgiving?"
Be honest. First Nations Development Institute has a list of books that accurately tell the story of Thanksgiving, in a way that kids will understand.
Echo Hawk, a member of the Pawnee Nation and founder and chief executive officer of IllumiNative said that we shouldn't just care about or acknowledge Native Americans during Thanksgiving. Native Americans should be acknowledged all year round.
The sad reality is, 87% of the K-12 curriculum in this country does NOT mention Native American history. It's been concealed and changed by white men throughout history.
After reading more about Native American history, my son and I will show our solidarity for the Native Americans by NOT acknowledging the English Thanksgiving.
Personally, I think the holiday should be canceled.
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