Some thoughts from Native Sun News publisher Tim Giago, as posted on Huggington Post, for this Thanksgiving Day:
By now I believe most Americans understand that the creative stories surrounding the first Thanksgiving are, for the most part, a myth.
There are few Native Americans who believe this day meant that peace and harmony had become a reality between the Indians and the Pilgrims. Most Natives know that this was just the beginning of an onslaught that would reduce the number of Indians from more than one million to about 200,000 by the beginning of the 20th century.
Over the years I have heard many stories about the psychological impact of Thanksgiving celebrations at schools where a few Native Americans attended classes with predominantly white students. Recalling her school days in Kansas, one Caddo Indian lady said, “All of the kids, except me and two other Native Americans, showed up in class wearing cardboard feathers with their faces painted in various colors. The white kids put their hands over their mouths and whooped and ran around the classroom making these awful sounds. We Indian kids were mortified and embarrassed by all of this.”
She continued, “What if on Black History Day or on Martin Luther King’s birthday all of the white kids came to school with their faces colored black? Wouldn’t that be an insult to the African American students?”
But the day known as Thanksgiving has been accepted as a legal holiday by most Native Americans because the idea of a day to give thanks is such a strong part of their traditions and culture.