The Truth About Thanksgiving


Batya Kimyagarov, Opinion Editor

Photo Creds: News Week

From the beginning of kindergarten, when Thanksgiving rolled around, we were taught about Squanto, the Native American, who helped the pilgrims grow food after a terrible winter. We learn all about the pilgrims and how they invited their Native American friends for a meal of thanks on a day we now call thanksgiving. Seems picture perfect right? When you really take time to actually look at it, you realize that Thanksgiving isn’t the perfect story we were told. I’m not going to reiterate everything we learned as children but I’ll say this, it’s a nice story but we’re missing a few parts. 

To begin, the friendly neighborhood Native American Squanto was actually a slave. He wasn’t the only one. Since the discovery of America, hundreds of Native Americans were taken by force and sold into slavery like Squanto. Furthermore, the Europeans who came to America brought diseases with them that wiped out a lot of Native Americans. To summarize, the arrival of the Europeans resulted in many Native Americans being sold into slavery or dying from a disease the Europeans brought with them. I think that, originally, Thanksgiving was celebrated for that reason: to celebrate the pilgrims making it through a winter. For the reasons I have described, I believe that there isn’t anything to celebrate related to the pilgrims, unless you want to celebrate murder and slavery. 

Now, I write this as a lover of Thanksgiving and truth be told, my reason for loving this holiday has nothing to do with pilgrims. I love Thanksgiving because it’s an excuse for me to spend time with my family, eat some amazing food, not to mention the fact that I don’t have school! I think that, as time has gone on, we have evolved as a country and a nation. We no longer really celebrate Thanksgiving for the pilgrims or for the reasons we were told in kindergarten. I think we celebrate Thanksgiving because of the opportunity it presents to us; an opportunity to spend time with one another and catch up with friends and family over a delicious meal. 

Now that we’re in the middle of a pandemic, our Thanksgiving should naturally look different. For me and for many others, we celebrate Thanksgiving because of all the friends and family we get to enjoy. Due to the pandemic, the meal might be happening in person or over some sort of video call; nonetheless, it will still be a lot of fun. If anything, this Thanksgiving will be more memorable than any of the ones in the past because it’s happening during a pandemic!