Why I Don't Like Thanksgiving

Don’t you just love Thanksgiving? It’s a time for giving thanks with family while a nice roast turkey sits at the table—with a side of cultural erasure and mashed potatoes. 

We’ve all been told the story of the first Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims left Europe to escape religious persecution and settled in America, then in 1621, they invited over their friends, the Wampanoag Native Americans, over to have a feast and then they all lived happily ever after. 

Now let me say this first, I am not a part of any Native American tribe nor do I represent their people. However I am part indigenous Taiwanese, and I know what it’s like to be ridiculed and have your people’s struggle erased from history and that is something I do not want to perpetuate 

The true story of Thanksgiving is actually about celebrating mass murder. During the Pequot War, over 700 Pequots, mainly comprising of the elderly, women, and children, were mercilessly slaughtered by the colonial militias in the Mystic Massacre. Days after the massacre, the governor of Bay Colony said that the massacre was “A day of Thanksgiving, thanking God that they had eliminated over 700 men, women, and children.”  For the next 100 years, every Thanksgiving that was ordained by a Governor was in honor of the massacre. The people would thank the Lord for mass murder. 

The spirit of Thanksgiving today is about being kind to one another and giving thanks. But by erasing the true history of Thanksgiving and disregarding the pain of those who suffered for white Americans to be in the place they are today you are being ignorant, rude, and ungrateful. 

I don’t care if your family has “traditions” and that’s “just the way it is,” the people that were slaughtered had their traditions and that didn’t matter to their murderers. They were murdered for no other reason than white American privilege and indulgence. 

I’m not saying that I don’t agree with the modern-day Thanksgiving values, I just don’t believe that you need a holiday to be thankful or have a big feast with your family.  Especially a holiday that originates from genocide. 

So this Thanksgiving season if you choose to sit with your family to carve a turkey and watch football while a pumpkin pie bakes in the oven, take one second to think about how you got to where you are. Think about the land you’re standing on and who it was taken from. Think about all the people who were persecuted and massacred so you can have your canned cranberry sauce. Then you’ll truly be embodying the values of Thanksgiving.

 

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