Thanksgiving overshadows oppression


Alexia Fenner, Staff Writer

The cool breeze of fall brings chills to spines; whether it is from temperature or the twisted history of holidays depends on the person. Thanksgiving has morally progressed so much that it celebrates the image of what never existed. A meal that represents unity obscures the history of one of the parties involved: Native Americans.

Elementary teachings generally include the euphemism that Plymouth pilgrims and Native Americans celebrated their harvest and gave thanks in a friendly manner, which is partially accurate. Only when students pursue their education in history will they find out the harsh reality of colonial violence and the continued oppression of Native Americans.

Delayed citizenship and rights, religious conversions, expulsion from homelands, and massacres. These and many more actions Americas subjected Native Americans to since colonization. Children create dream catchers and headdresses, sacred items to the culture of many tribes, for temporary decoration. It is one of many Americans’ demonstrations of willingness to appropriate another’s traditions for the sake of aesthetics.

It is natural for moral progression to develop within society, but the root of misinformation about the origin stems from significant alterations. Individuals can recognize the history of the minority to counter historical distortion through education and preservative efforts. The National Day of Mourning, organized by UAINE (United American Indians of New England), follows this objective. It is a yearly march that falls on the same day as Thanksgiving and aims to educate Americans about the holiday’s history. It serves as a reminder of massacres of Native Americans and the theft of sacred lands while it protests against racism and oppression of their people.

This resolve translates into similar instances with other minorities and indigenous peoples. Consequently, change only advances when the individual decides to right the wrongs of others.