By Raygan Lopez
With Thanksgiving just a day away, I’ve noticed a lot of social media posts about canceling Thanksgiving, not just because of COVID-19, but also due to the origins of the holiday. America’s history classes have enabled generations to think that Thanksgiving is about celebrating the first harvest in the “new world” in 1621.
Thanksgiving was originally a feast shared by English colonizers and Native Americans. However, younger generations have been unraveling the horrid truths about America’s birth, not just the watered-down history lessons they learn in school.
The holiday is being canceled by some Americans, simply because of the maltreatment of Native Americans and then labeling that mistreatment as “assimilation.” The “new world” wasn’t new to Native Americans, it was inhabited by them which is why Native Americans were adapted to the terrain. Colonizers weren’t so they struggled with harvesting.
In exchange for a bountiful harvest, the Native Americans were gifted new diseases, the annihilation of their culture and traditions, many wars, the slaughtering of tens of millions of buffalo, and then placed on a little piece of land to live on a reservation – a reservation on their own land.
America has a dark history of discrimination toward minorities, which is why Columbus Day has been canceled by many cities and states and is now referred to as Indigenous People’s Day.
I believe that Thanksgiving has strayed away from celebrating the first harvest and has developed into a different meaning. For modern America, Thanksgiving is a reason to gather with family and friends, share meals with each other, maybe watch American football, catch up and simply be with each other.
If America’s colonization of Native Americans isn’t a sufficient enough reason to reevaluate the national holiday, maybe COVID-19 will. America is currently suffering from rising cases, at-capacity hospitals, no vaccine, no lockdown, and even no mask wearers. Amarillo has become a hotspot for the virus and cases are growing exponentially. COVID-19 has placed a strain on our everyday lives. Gathering in the living room for Thanksgiving this year could be potentially dangerous to you and your loved ones. COVID-19 is lethal just like influenza was to the new world.