Opinion: Uncovering the real history for Thanksgiving holiday

"American Thanksgiving traces its roots to many things: an imitation of a religious festival, a failed attempt at socialism, the massacre of innocent Native Americans. Yet we rarely stop to give thanks for anything other than football and turkey.

Giving the settlers at Plymouth Rock credit for establishing Thanksgiving is actually too bold. Almost every culture that bases any of its well-being on agriculture has celebrated some version of a harvest festival and Thanksgiving.

As for the first American Thanksgiving, the Plymouth settlers actually weren't first. Marian T. Horvat, a journalist with a Ph.D. in Medieval History, claims that the first "Thanksgiving" in America was held in 1598 by Spanish explorers in El Paso, giving thanks for their safe voyage.

But even before that, credit goes to Native American tribes for holding the first Thanksgiving in America. Whether it was for a successful harvest, a peace treaty between tribes or a religious celebration, Native Americans had given thanks on this land far before any other person.

Instead of all of these possible origins of Thanksgiving, we focus on the select year of 1621 and fabricate it to mythical proportions. Those of European descent imagine it as a day of thanks for a successful harvest and a peaceful gathering of the Wampanoag and Pilgrims. However, Native Americans view the holiday as the beginning of the European invasion celebrating the deceitfulness of the settlers; a day when they offered peace, but war was returned."

Get the Story:
Ryan Duggan: Regardless of how Thanksgiving originated, its meaning is solid (The Daily Nebraskan 11/21)

Also Today:
Thanksgiving Day’s hidden history (The CSU Fresno Collegian 11/20)

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