Three hundred years ago, John Winthrop, the governor of the colony known as Massachusetts, named a holiday to celebrate the safe return of his men in the Pequot War. This day was named in celebration of these men who massacred 700 Pequot people. Today, we know this holiday as “Thanksgiving.”
Since then, Thanksgiving has been a constant and painful reminder to Native American people, as this holiday is heavily celebrated across the country.
The holiday has become a symbol for the American’s silent acceptance of the horrible treatment of the Native peoples.
From their mistreatment on reservations to the deadly Trail of Tears, the U.S. has a long and bloody history of interactions with Native Americans.
In response, a couple of protest holidays have popped up in resistance, such as “Unthanksgiving” and “The National Day of Mourning.”
Some people have suggested celebrating a “National Day of Atonement” instead of Thanksgiving and celebrating the Native American people instead of Thanksgiving.
Here, at The Bulletin, we would like to support the tradition of being mindful of the mistreatment of Native Americans on Thanksgiving.
November is the National Native American Heritage Month and we urge readers to celebrate this as vigorously as possible while maintaining a constant sense of respect for the massive numbers of Native American lives lost.
What do we mean by this?
First, don’t wear “Indian headbands” or support the wearing of them as “festive gear.”
Secondly, attend the campus’ Indigenous History Discussion led by Joyce Thierer, professor of social sciences. The discussion will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 28 in the Preston Family Room in the Memorial Union.
Also, work to raise awareness of the atrocities the native people went through by educating yourself and others.
Take note of important Native American peoples and develop a respect for the culture.
While we can’t outlaw Thanksgiving and we can’t change it overnight, we can support legislation that does. Call your senators and representatives and ask for the change in legislation that will offer respect that Native Americans deserve.