Most of us grew up with the public school system in North America and most likely made turkey cut-outs with our cute little baby hands. Along with the arts and crafts, we were spoon-fed the faux history of Pilgrims and Indians hugging it out and having a peaceful Thanksgiving dinner on a monstrous wannabe-Restoration-Hardware table.
Standard, right? Cough Cough Bullshit! Straight up pumpkin-spice coated bullshit, we say!
So, let’s throw a dash of truth on this, shall we?
The B.S.ery behind Thanksgiving.
We’ve noticed a surge in wokeness in regards to the real history of Thanksgiving and, of course, we always give a standing O to all things woke. These conversations, however, haven’t always been under wraps.
Even with a failed public school system (yeah, we’re sticking with that) there was a time when seemingly innocent after school shows, like Recess, picked up the slack and schooled us on the real meaning of Thanksgiving- even if they did go over our heads at the time.
Don’t remember? It looked a little something like this...
Not to mention the endless references you can find online highlighting the “Real Thanksgiving Story.” Regardless of how long these bits of realness have circulated, we can see last year’s DAPL as the catalyst for these conversations. The irony of peaceful American Indian protesters being tear gassed during Thanksgiving week was not lost on us.
That’s why this year, we wanted to call bullshit on what Thanksgiving represents and tell the forgotten story of this pretty gross holiday.
How History Got Remixed
Thanks to the mass distribution on textbooks in public schools, the story of Thanksgiving has been stuffed with myths to create a puritan view of the interactions between Pilgrims and Indians.
But the O.G. Thanksgiving story is a little more.. bloody.. than we’ve been taught. Here are three things that got remixed throughout history.
John Winthrop was the Massachusetts Colony Governor and started this Thanksgiving tradition by giving thanks that his group of colonial volunteers returned safely from a round of massacring 700 Pequot Indians. We’ve heard many stories about Indian and Pilgrim interaction. None of them mention a massacre.
Another false narrative is that the Indians helped the settlers survive their first winter. Well, they didn’t. Settlers were horrible hunters, couldn't preserve whatever they did manage to catch, and went hungry for days on end. These bouts of hunger were turned into Days of Fasting and added to the religious influence that spread across colonies.
A Reason to Believe
Thanksgiving didn’t become official until 1863 when Abraham Lincoln made it an official holiday to bring everyone together during the time of the Civil War. Then, in the 1900s is when the Indian/Pilgrim story caught on and it wasn’t long until the whitewashed version of how Thanksgiving came to be made its way into textbooks and became one of the most anticipated holidays of the year.
So, How do Native Americans Give Thanks?
Native Americans might be the only groups of people who fully and accurately understand the history of this holiday. They knew that original “Thanksgiving” celebrations always followed the killing of an entire village, that there was no codependent relationship between Indians and pilgrims, and that it was not a time of growth and prosperity for Native Americans.
This is why Native Americans call Thanksgiving a “Day of Mourning” instead. They use the day to commemorate their ancestors and pray for the dead.
We can all do a little better to keep our history in check. But don’t take our word for it, listen to these 5 Native Americans drop some knowledge we can all be thankful for.