While American citizens are prepping their Thanksgiving feasts, certain college students across the nation have made a conscious choice not to celebrate the holiday altogether.
Most people who attended conventional schooling as children were taught about the history of Thanksgiving through picture books with stories that depicted the first harvest between the Native Americans and the pilgrim settlers. The holiday is one that is deeply loved by most of the American public for its efforts to communicate a message rooted in the practice of giving thanks and practicing gratitude.
Though the holiday is cherished, many believe it’s also controversial, its true roots planted in Native American genocide. Years of brutal massacre of the indigenous people following the first harvest was neglected to be mentioned in students' early education, according to Native Hope. This has caused college students to think critically and question why Thanksgiving continues to be celebrated after learning about the significant history of oppression behind the holiday.
Just last year, students attending the University of Oregon hosted an event, “Thanks But No Thank-Giving," in efforts to highlight the history of the holiday by protesting it, according to the Daily Emerald. In late November of last year, a graduate association at the University of Pennsylvania hosted a freshmen dorm conversation which discussed how and why Thanksgiving is a racist holiday because it fails to acknowledge Native American people and their involvement in history. The event was intended for freshmen and also incorporated a critical discussion about American Politics.
Current senior communications major Emma De Soto, shares her views on the controversy, “When it comes to celebrating Thanksgiving I think for most people history doesn’t cross people’s minds. I personally understand why students are protesting against it — the history alone doesn’t make me want to honor the holiday, but the message of giving thanks is still something I admire and practice in my own family. I think approaching it differently as a country is an important step, but I’m not sure what that step would even look like.”
Along with Thanksgiving, there have been other holidays that have been brought into question on college campuses such as Columbus Day. LMU is one of the many universities that chooses not to celebrate Columbus Day. Instead, we have Autumn Day which occurs around the same time. In general, a greater effort has been made in recent years to have thought provoking conversations pertaining to the narratives attached to holidays and how it’s affected the country.
This is the opinion of Lucy Baker, a senior communication studies major from Sedona, Arizona. Tweet comments @LALoyolan or email firstname.lastname@example.org.