Thanksgiving’s False Narrative


Abbie Kraus, Staff Writer

Most Americans celebrate Thanksgiving as a way to come together with their families or friends, to celebrate one another and the things they are, as the name suggests, thankful for. It is told as a really lovely holiday with even lovelier undertones of love, kindness, and gratitude for those around you. What a lot of Americans either do not know or choose to ignore is the polarly opposite truth behind this Thanksgiving holiday, and how the day stands for quite the juxtaposition in historical context. This, of course, is being taught to our children which further instills the false narrative and further buries the truth of what happened to the Native Americans and how they are still very oppressed and discredited in today’s society.CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, by Sebastiano del Piombo, 1519, Italian painting, oil on canvas. The inscription stating the sitter as Columbus was probably added after the painting was made and identification

America has always prided itself on being a mixed, multicultural society where anyone from any place and background can come here and make a living for themselves. It is supposed to be a place where we can all be united, as the name “United States” suggests, and embrace each other no matter where we come from because we are all here for the same reasons as the next person. Today it seems that we forget this previous notion by ignoring those who preceded us, and instead, we accept the story that we were all taught of Christopher Columbus. That he was a good man who happened to stumble across America and the Native Americans that inhabited the land. That he worked with them, and that they all worked together in unity to create a new beginning for the pilgrims. This could not be farther from the truth, however; if only it were that simple.

In reality, the true story is covered by the footprints we colonists make on our American soil. Tensions grew fairly quickly between the pilgrims after the Native Americans, who had already been inhabiting this land for approximately 12,000 years. Some sources say that the land had been inhabited for even up to 20,000 years prior. The pilgrims brought severe illness along with their rapidly unwanted presences invading what the Native Americans had worked so proudly on for thousands of generations.

Since the very beginning of the Native American peoples being encountered by colonists, an estimated 12 million Indigenous people and counting have been slaughtered at their hands. Think about that number, and assign a real human life to each of those twelve million lives. Indigenous people are still facing disproportionate amounts of violence to this day, along with their history and past being discarded and pushed to the side to honor a completely false narrative that makes the settlers out to be the “saviors” of the Native Americans, that they worked together in peace and in black tank top holding white and black happy birthday signage

Why are Indigenous people still pushed to the side? It is taught that we should learn history so that it doesn’t end up repeating itself. But, because the true history behind Thanksgiving and the rich history of Indigenous people is not being taught, nothing has changed. The numbers are horrifying and they are not even discussed or brought to light.

Neglecting to teach the real history of Thanksgiving to our youth and the generations is part of a much bigger problem of continued violence and racism. We should use Thanksgiving 2021 as a lesson to teach to our young ones, to love each other despite differences, and to respect and listen to those whose stories may not always be heard. You can also donate to Indigenous peoples and Native-lead charities here.