A Pop of History: Celebrating and Honoring the Past

Sky Kuykendall, Journalist

Coming once a year on November 24th, Thanksgiving is usually considered one of the most debated holidays in the modern day. Consisting of spending time with family and showing gratitude for their privileges, the idea of Thanksgiving is, on paper, a positive idea; however, this isn’t exactly the history of the holiday. It’s commonly associated to be a positive day, but we must all remember the vital information of the past that still affects groups of people to this day.

Thanksgiving was an idea George Washington made popular due to his belief in people showing thanks for their successes and family, but this holiday would not be established into a recognized holiday until 1890 by congress after Lincoln encouraged the American people to celebrate in thankful festive activities. This is, for the most part, a positive idea; however, the inspiration for Thanksgiving happened years before in Plymouth, MA.

The year was 1621 when the colonists and the Wampanoag people held the first recorded autumn feast to celebrate the harvest within the year that followed an alliance formed between the two groups. Although this was a positive interaction between the native and European people, it was only one exception.

In 1637 a governor by the name of John Winthrop massacred 700 Pequot people after calling upon those volunteers for a day of Thanksgiving. Between the disease the European people brought and the mass homicide to conquer the land, Thanksgiving is often thought of as a “Day of Mourning” to native people; thus, not having those positive connotations as those who are raised with the positive mindset of Thanksgiving.

Everyone has the freedom of choice for how they celebrate any holiday; however, striving to become a more educated and accepting individual should always be a priority. Taking time out of the festive day and trying to understand the grievances that others go through can be beneficial for both parties.

The month of November is nationally considered to be Native American History month. Within this month it is important to recognize the contribution to our countrythat they have given, notably in culture. This also raises the perfect opportunity to discuss the history and educate those who may be ignorant of the topic in a safe space.

The final takeaway from this article is to open discussion on the topic; it is vital for us as people to try to understand each other and try to meet common ground. Even if our views differ, it is essential to be respectful to one another.