OP: What does Thanksgiving really mean to us?

www.westernherald.com – RSS Results in opinion* of type article As two Native women are being elected into Congress, it has me thinking more about what it means to be Native in this country. Often overlooked and pushed away, Native women mean little to nothing. But as this past election results came in, it gave me a little bit of hope. A little bit of hope that this country might be finally paying attention to us and our history.Native people have suffered generous amounts of genocide, racism and ignorance. Many Native women alone have gone missing and/or have been killed due to the sole fact that they are Native. Growing up in a Native and African-American family, I was proud of my heritage and where I came from. I was proud to bring in the food we eat to my elementary classes and teach a lesson about it. I was proud to talk about my family anytime Natives were brought up in a history textbook. I was proud to open the textbook and talk about my ancestors, but I did not know the in depth history of my heritage. I was in for a surprise.

Specifically, I want to speak on Thanksgiving. It is the national holiday that is loved nationwide by people sitting around a big turkey. This holiday represents gratefulness and is often spent voicing what you are grateful for, but I never really knew the true meaning of the First Thanksgiving because, surprisingly, I wasn’t taught enough of it in school. Thankfully, my family taught me not only our traditions, but the hardships our ancestors had to go through. Again, we stay overlooked and pushed to the side. It is an ongoing cycle.Thanksgiving did not bring on joy and a friendship between the Natives and the pilgrims. In the textbooks and childhood stories, we are set to believe that we all became best friends …

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