Simply Shreya: the reality of Thanksgiving


Morgan Kong

Wingspan's Shreya Jagan shares her personal take on issues and experiences in her weekly column Simply Shreya.

Shreya Jagan, Staff Reporter

A time of gratitude and family.


This tradition of giving thanks is universal in some sort or another.

And celebrating good fortune has always been an event in every culture.

But are we mashing the potatoes without understanding what Thanksgiving is actually about?

In 1620, around a hundred people left England on the Mayflower in hopes of religious freedom. Those that survived eventually enjoyed a three day feast with the native people. These native people helped the pilgrims get accustomed to their new life by teaching them necessities.

The guest contribution to the native people, on the other hand, consisted of imperialism, weapons, and among all others: disease.

In fact, some Native Americans favor the name “The National Day of Mourning” for this occasion.

To add onto that, a group of Puritans burned alive more than seven hundred native people. Men, women, and children alike. Though these people were Puritans and not Pilgrims, they were nonetheless aliens to North America.

Robert Jensen, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin records that this was truly the original origin of “Thanksgiving”.

Now, I’m not throwing Thanksgiving under the bus all together. I think it’s important to appreciate how lucky we are and how great of a life we’ve been given. But, it pains me to see that we’ve been commemorating a holiday for the wrong reasons while others are quite literally hurting because of history’s aftermath.

A lot of the time, there’s much more to a story than what meets the eye. On the surface, Thanksgiving is a holiday of rejoice and happiness, but its foundation is one of murder, cruelty and unfortunate circumstances.

The native people welcomed Pilgrims and Puritans with open arms, but instead were left with pain, sorrow, and death.

So, this Thanksgiving, let’s take a seat at the dinner table, spend time with family, and reflect on the true American history.