Thanksgiving: a harsh holiday

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Livia Shiroishi, Staff Reporter

Thanksgiving. A time of eating, laughing, and celebration. Every year we get together with friends and family and unite over this holiday without asking ourselves why? What exactly are we celebrating? So many other large holidays have such clear cut meanings behind them. 

Christmas, for example, is about as simple as it gets – the birth of Christ. When looking at Thanksgiving, we think of food and family. But Thanksgiving didn’t begin to celebrate the birth of food and family. Rather, it stands to represent the trivialization of history. 

I’m sure we all know the story that “began” Thanksgiving (in America at the very least). It goes something along the lines of “when white settlers came to America they were absolutely clueless about how to survive.

That is until Native Americans were kind enough to teach them how to farm. Then they produced a wonderful harvest and celebrated with a glorious feast and everyone lived happily ever after in peaceful harmony”. 

I am also sure–or at least hope–that we all know that is not the whole story. All renditions that appear around this time of year fail to mention that the whole reason pilgrims were able to settle so easily into the land was because the Native American population had already been decimated by deadly plagues brought by colonizers.

They also neglect to insert that the same groups of people who dined so jovially together that day, were in a harsh and bloody war only a generation later. 

While this information is terrible, it doesn’t necessarily taint the actual day that is rumored to be the first Thanksgiving. There are other stories for that. Historians debate on the actual origins of Thanksgiving.

Many pinpoint the day of origin as sometime in 1637, when Massachusetts Colony governor John Winthrop called for a day of “thanks-giving” to honor colonial soldiers, who had just massacred 700 Pequot men, women and children. 

Now all this terrifying information isn’t to say that I don’t understand and appreciate the holiday of Thanksgiving itself. I love the food, family time, and whole week off from school.

But that isn’t to say that we should glaze over the tragic past to this holiday in favor of more appetizing offers. Ultimately, it is the denial at worst, and ignorance at best, of the past horrors that make this holiday so unpalatable for me.