Thanksgiving: A holiday of lies


The last Thursday of November is most commonly known as Thanksgiving. Every family has their take on this special holiday, whether it is a day of thanks or a day of watching football.  Whether you’ll be sitting at an overly decorated table full of pumpkins and stuffed cornucopias, or you are eating Ramen and watching the immense balloons floating through the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade with the people you love. No matter how we spend the day, we thank each and everyone we love. However, have you ever sat back and thought of the history of Thanksgiving? The realistic history of thanksgiving is not what we were taught in elementary school, it is deep in lies. As years go on, and more turkeys are stuffed, more one-sided stories kill generations of Indigenous peoples’ voices. 

As of now, most of us know the horrendous trauma Indigenous people are put through daily, especially silencing their voices and shutting out their history. Continuing the line of lies shuts them out. So, to better understand their history let’s learn the myths of Thanksgiving. Firstly, the Mayflower was not the first ship to hold white men coming to this Indigenous land; and none of the first arrivals were what we’re told, they were all bloody massacres. Another myth is that everyone, including the Indigenous people, was all Christians. In fact, the colonizers coming over here forced Indigenous people to conform to Christianity, along with all slaves in future history. However, this snippet of true history is not to put down any new generational Christians, who have become very welcoming in the past years. Lastly, the Indigenous group of this event did not welcome the colonizers in freedom and opportunity, but to “fend off tribal rebels” and an epidemic. These myths are only the beginning of the deterioration of these tribes. 

As far as some of the myths go, we can generalize the truth and better understand the heartache of this event. However, to truly get to know this Indigenous group we can start with their own history. The leader of the tribe, Wampanoag, is Ousamequin. The pronunciation of his name is Oo-Sah-Meek-Win, and the pronunciation of the tribe’s name is Waam-Puh-Now-Ag. The names look confusing since we are usually used to Kyle or Jessie, but the pronunciation is not hard and should not be made fun of. These indigenous names often use the power of words, especially Ousamequin’s name, which means yellow feather. Another great fact to know is the survival of this Indigenous group, they have adapted over the centuries and they are still around today! Although it doesn’t seem so cool to have a history lesson for a holiday we know as food comas, it helps to understand the history of events. 

Since we now know more about the history of Thanksgiving or Indigenous People’s Day, it is necessary to mention ways to help the oppressed Indigenous communities around us. Without further ado, here is a list of ways you can help all year round: 

  • Do research on the Indigenous tribes near you, or the Indigenous tribes that used to live there. 
  • Correct someone when they continue a harmful myth, call an Indigenous person an Indian or mispronounce an Indigenous name.
  • When you’re eating at Thanksgiving, give a moment of silence for the missing and murdered Indigenous women.
  • Learn more about reservations 
  • Learn more about pipeline issues causing mass harm to reservations and Indigenous land.
  • Support small businesses!
  • Share Indigenous people’s profiles on TikTok or Instagram, especially if it is an activism post!
  • Make sure you’re creating a safe space for all
  • Remember this generation is not sensitive; we are just doing what previous generations should’ve done. 

If you’re interested, check out this article from The Smithsonian!