Most of us have memories from elementary school of dressing up as little Pilgrims and Native Americans for Thanksgiving. It was always an exciting time of year, lining up with your friends for the small parade going around the school.
What also came along with the dress-up days were the history lessons of Thanksgiving. The whole story with the Native Americans getting invited by the Pilgrims to eat a feast; it seemed too good to be true, especially after looking at American history. The whole history with the Native Americans didn’t look like the ones told to little kids.
The feast at Thanksgiving is a major misconception that comes along with the holiday. This is a myth that has circled elementary schools and their curriculum for a long time. It’s almost like the ‘cartoonified’ version of Thanksgiving.
Historians believe the Pilgrims were making so much commotion that the Native Americans had come to see what the commotion was about. When going to the site, they saw a harvesting feast on that day. The Pilgrims did not invite them for the meal like schools say. This version of the story made so much more sense after seeing the feud that went on between the Wampanoag and the Pilgrims.
Until I reached middle school, I never learned what actually happened on that day. Perhaps it is because schools choose to keep history a little less graphic for kids by keeping out the conflict between the Native Americans and the Pilgrims.
It is said that this story version of the event was brought up by Abraham Lincoln in an effort to bring peace during the Civil War. Families were divided because of the war, so the myth was formed to make it into a public holiday to unite the union, which was falling apart during the time.
Another thing I learned was, Thanksgiving actually did not start in America. It was a tradition the Pilgrims had celebrated in Europe and brought over here. The Pilgrims started celebrating it to show thanks for the first harvest of the year.
Although this holiday has been designed to bring families together, we are not taught the original history behind the holiday. We are not taught the feud between the Indians and Pilgrims until later in school. We are not taught the origin of the story. But we are brought together to show an appreciation for everything we have. I think it’s bad to celebrate a holiday which is misrepresenting what really happened.