Photo Courtesy of moziru.com
Thanksgiving looks like happy turkeys and smiling pilgrims and shirtless “Indians” with headdresses of gold, red and orange. It connotes happy hand turkeys and stretchy pants and your mom’s cheesy flip-a-grams of you and your siblings throughout the years. We reflect on our blessings, take second helpings and thank God for the Native Americans who taught our ancestors how to plant and harvest corn. Thanksgiving— a time of joy and relevance of the providence and the grace of God.
Nicole Breedlove from Huffington Post asserts:
“THANKSGIVING—NATIONAL LAND THEFT AND AMERICAN GENOCIDE DAY.”
Many Americans remain unaware that the first celebrated day of “Thanksgiving,” took place to celebrate the 1637 massacre of the Pequot Tribe—the very same tribe depicted in commonplace “Thanksgiving table” clipart.
William Newell, a Penobscot Indian and former chair of the anthropology department of the University of Connecticut, states that contrary to popular belief, America’s very first Thanksgiving was not a wholesome celebration, or “a festive gathering of Indians and Pilgrims, but rather a celebration of the massacre of 700 Pequot men, women and children.” Historical source, RepublicoftheDakota.com gives the account of the Connecticut Pequot’s Green Corn Dance Ceremony, during which English settlers attacked the Pequot, burning the village and killing a speculated total of 700 men, women and children. On the following day, a statement was made by the Governor of the Massachusetts colony, referring to the massacre as
“A day of Thanksgiving, thanking God that they had eliminated over 700 men, women and children.” He then passed a law, saying “This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots.”
False teachings have permeated our education for so many decades and to realize yet another genocide fueled America’s foundation is devastating. But we need to learn these things. What is the solution? As with many issues, Christians need to acknowledge the corruption of history, and today, in order to hope for a change. It is not to remove from society or refrain from celebrating Thanksgiving necessarily, but to recognize what has happened and pay respect by preventing it from happening on our watch.
We can research holidays, and help those around us understand exactly what they are celebrating. We can think of the hundreds of Native Americans who died so we can be “thankful.” We can pray for those who still live on government funded reservations, stuck with minimal job and education opportunities. We can pray for a change. As with Columbus to Indigenous People’s Day, history can be rectified. Nothing can make up for the deaths from which our country profited, but we can acknowledge they happened.