Deconstructing the Myths of “The First Thanksgiving”

Myth #11: Thanksgiving is a happy time.

Fact: For many Indian people, “Thanksgiving” is a time of mourning, of remembering how a gift of generosity was rewarded by theft of land and seed corn, extermination of many from disease and gun, and near total destruction of many more from forced assimilation. As currently celebrated in this country, “Thanksgiving” is a bitter reminder of 500 years of betrayal returned for friendship.

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying this festive holiday (I certainly fully intend to do so); but let’s not entertain the pretension that it was originally a celebration of friendship and harmony with the native peoples of the area, or that God had miraculously “provided” food for the “pilgrims”. Instead, let’s enjoy the opportunity to dine, celebrate, and enjoy the company of our friends and family.