Should We Still Celebrate Thanksgiving?


Emma Brown

Pumpkin pie, the classic Thanksgiving dessert.

For some people the topic of Thanksgiving is controversial, for the Native Americans whose land has been stolen, and the non-native advocates. A popular opinion among those who believe that Thanksgiving should not be celebrated is that Native Americans are represented as one dimensional, a vessel created to display a picture perfect coming-together for the pilgrims of America. Native Americans and non-native advocates have an issue with celebrating Thanksgiving in various ways.

It’s believed that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 between the community of the Plymouth Colony Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Native Americans. Unlike the classic Thanksgiving story told from the European point of view, the natives experienced European slave-traders raiding their homes. When telling the story of the first Thanksgiving many are focused on the European point of view, how the Native Americans kindly taught the pilgrims how to plant crops and how they ate their harvest together in harmony.

Those that feel we shouldn’t be celebrating Thanksgiving believe that Thanksgiving is a practice to support when the pilgrims stole the land from the Native Americans. Also, for many Native Americans, Thanksgiving is viewed as a national day of mourning. The National Day of Mourning, a day to honor the Native ancestors and the Native peoples today. They take that time to reflect on their culture and history. The National Day of Mourning has been an annual protest since 1970 by Native Americans on the fourth Thursday of November, the same day as Thanksgiving.

However, on the contrary, Thanksgiving can also be perceived as the day that began with the Pilgrims immigrating to New England in 1621, celebrating their first successful harvest. It has become a tradition to celebrate with thanks given during a major feast. According to a senior, Isaiah Emmons, we should still celebrate Thanksgiving because “It’s important to a lot of people” and it’s important to him.

The history of how Native Americans were treated very poorly makes us wonder: should we still celebrate Thanksgiving? Eating with our extended family and friends is the start to the holiday season: Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Years. Thanksgiving allows us to reflect on the past year and what made it great, appreciating the ones around us, but at what cost?