• Simply GenZ

The Dark History Behind Thanksgiving

Poor Education

Thanksgiving is typically a holiday that is surrounded by family, friends, and all types of food, but the holiday has a dark and bloody past. Many children in school, however, are poorly educated about the actual and bloody events that happened for Thanksgiving to exist. In primary schools, students are taught that friendly Indigenous people helped the colonists settle into the New World and showed Pilgrims how to survive, and as a result, they celebrated with a grand feast. This real story is much more brutal than this, so brutal that many people believe that Thanksgiving should not be celebrated at all.

Brief History Behind the Establishment of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was officially established as a United States holiday in 1863 during the Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln established this holiday in hopes of creating a feeling of unity and improving tensions between the northern and the southern states. In 1862, there was the Dakota War, in which corrupted federal agents kept the tribe, Dakota-sioux, from receiving food. When at starvation, the tribe began to fight back, starting the war. Lincoln orders 38 of these Dakota men to be hanged as a result of the war. President Lincoln then reformed the holiday the year after in order to bridge any negative tensions between Indigenous people and the federal government.

What Actually Happened?

In many textbooks, it’s indicated that Pilgrims and Ingenious people got along well as soon as they arrived in Plymouth Massachusetts. As winter was quickly approaching, it was assumed that Inginoeus people and the pilgrims got along in order to band together against the harsh weather. Unfortunately, the Pilgrims brought foreign diseases that ended up killing most of the Inginoeus population. In fact, even before the pilgrims landed in Plymouth, English and French men would transmit diseases through water, firewood, and the slave trade. Those who survived the diseases would have perished in a brutal massacre.

The Future Of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has always been perceived as a day to give thanks and be grateful for what you have. However, this holiday is rooted in genocide and the blood of the Indigenous people who lived here before. This holiday will most likely never be erased from United States tradition, but it can be a holiday in which we recognize what happened before. Instead of completely erasing this holiday, it could be a day to celebrate with your family and acknowledge the truth behind what happened so many years ago. It is important to remain educated and to educate others on this, so that we may never forget all the lives that were lost.

Research Coordinator - Kelly Zarate

Editor - Vaishnavi Bhojane

Graphic Designer - Jhem Picache