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The Real Thanksgiving Story and How People Celebrate the Day

Most white Americans celebrate Thanksgiving yearly with good food and other activities. But the Native Americans have different views of the occasion. While there are some Native Americans who treat Thanksgiving as a day of giving thanks, others would rather look at it as a day of mourning and remembrance.

In order for us to understand this difference, we need to go back to what really happened on the first Thanksgiving day.

In school, children are taught that when the pilgrims arrived in American it was the Native Americans that taught them how to plant food and other items in order to survive. The first thanksgiving feast was in celebration of the abundant harvest that the pilgrims and Native Americans are thankful for.

This story, however, is not what actually happened. The reason why the pilgrims settled at Plymouth was that many Native Americans had died of the plague. Squanto, the Native American who had helped the pilgrims previously, was made into a slave. Soon, the pilgrims and their descendants made Native Americans their slaves, killing, persecuting and robbing them over the next few centuries.

And so, for Native Americans, the first Thanksgiving makes them remember a violent past while the white Americans celebrate plentiful harvest on the day.

The holiday has changed over time. Although we still hear the story of the first Thanksgiving being told, today’s celebration is all about family, food, and gratitude. If you want to learn about Thanksgiving history and traditions, read on here.

With the focus of today’s Thanksgiving celebration on family and food, a lot of Native Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. Celebrating this day for them gives them a chance to continue a heritage of extending grace to anyone who needs it. Others, though, treat this day as a remembrance of the people’s resilience and their survival from the oppression.

The celebration and teaching of the first Thanksgiving are still being done in schools today but they are being asked by anti-racist organizations to recognize what really happened that day. They ask teachers to give their students more accurate information about Native American culture.

White people don’t have to remember the painful past. But you can celebrate this day by talking to your family about what the first Thanksgiving meant to both the pilgrims and the Native Americans. The past still haunts most Native Americans.

For the Native American, thanksgiving can be an opportunity to remember their heritage and give thanks for life, but it can also be a painful remembrance of a period of great suffering and oppression.

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