We Should Celebrate Thanksgiving despite its History

A+family+can+celebrate+Thanksgiving+while+still+understanding+and+acknowledging+its+history.+Thanksgiving%E2%80%99s+story+is+important%2C+but+the+holiday+has+modernized+into+a+different+meaning.

Dheeksha Bhima Reddy

A family can celebrate Thanksgiving while still understanding and acknowledging its history. Thanksgiving’s story is important, but the holiday has modernized into a different meaning.

Shortly after the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims began to take away land from the Native Americans. In turn, this led to the relocation of many idenginous tribes and ultimately the decimation of several populations. 

Although the Pilgrim-Native American conflicts have contributed to a grim history surrounding the holiday, we should continue to celebrate Thanksgiving because of its modernization over the years. 

While it is important to understand the context behind the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621, people today should reflect on the importance of being thankful for blessings, family, food, shelter and money. 

“The history of Thanksgiving is pretty dark, but I like to think the holiday is a holiday to be thankful and appreciative of our family while also reconsidering the grim history,” junior Jonathan Truong said. “I think it should be celebrated only to appreciate what we have and to be thankful.”

A poll conducted by LifeWay Research in 2015 showed that 56% of Americans spend the holiday being thankful for God and their blessings, while 39% spend the time with family or friends. In total, 95% of Americans continue to celebrate the holiday.

“I think the deeper meaning of Thanksgiving is to just be thankful and appreciative of what we have and how we got here as a country,” Truong said. 

I definitely think that it should always be brought up together, like if you’re going to bring up Thanksgiving and that dinner with the Pilgrims, you should always bring up the fact that the indigenous populations have suffered and continue to suffer in this country.”

— Shameemah Motala

In 2020, people should address Thanksgiving not for its history but for its ability to make people acknowledge why they are thankful. While it is still a time of mourning, Americans can opt to discuss present-day issues rather than those of 1621.

“People don’t think about Thanksgiving and immediately remember the Pilgrims; I don’t think that’s your association,” social studies teacher Shameemah Motala said. “I think now it’s become more of a time where everyone has the day off, and it’s like the one time in the year where everyone can get together and be free from work and school and everything like that.”

Nevertheless, the history of Thanksgiving continues to be dark, and many Americans criticize the actions of the Pilgrims. 

“I definitely think that it should always be brought up together, like if you’re going to bring up Thanksgiving and that dinner with the Pilgrims, you should always bring up the fact that the indigenous populations have suffered and continue to suffer in this country,” Motala said.

Understanding the history of Thanksgiving is something everyone should be able to do, but the choice of whether or not to celebrate Thanksgiving should not be based on its history.