Is Thanksgiving an Appropriate Holiday?

Ever since it was first celebrated in 1621 by both English pilgrims and the Wampanoag, Thanksgiving has been considered a historical American tradition. However, some have questioned the political correctness or racial insensitivity of the holiday, given the harsh treatment of Native Americans since the first arrival of settlers into America.

In school, students are often educated about the pilgrims: the hard-working globe-trotters that sought a new life in the New World, and were aided by Native Americans in growing and hunting food. In many cases, the subject of how thousands of Native Americans were kicked off their land or slaughtered in order for the pilgrims and other settlers to gain territory is not addressed until late middle or high school. In some elementary school classes, children even put on plays clad in black pilgrim hats or fake moccasins to tell the story of Thanksgiving. However, recently many have argued that allowing children or people of all ages to dress in Native American costumes is seen as appropriation.

“I’m not sure it’s totally appropriate, but I still want to celebrate Thanksgiving,” said Rachel Lisle ’18. “I think that what we celebrate when we celebrate Thanksgiving is the unification between the Native Americans and the pilgrims.”

As Thanksgiving is a part of American history and a national holiday, it is necessary to acknowledge it and learn about the two cultures surrounding it equally: that of the colonists, and that of the Native Americans. If Thanksgiving is to be considered a politically correct holiday, then all aspects of the history surrounding it need to be studied and respected.

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