Since it's November, annual reminder: Thanksgiving is a problematic holiday, "celebrates a myth of colonialism and white proprietorship of the U.S."

Messofanego

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,907
UK
For the people who say they use the holiday to be with family and eat, I don't see any mention of talking about or educating about the plight of Native Americans. Nothing about an activity outside to inform yourself more about the history, like going to a museum exhibit or an event/festival held by Native Americans. Joining in protests or talks about saving the lands. Getting to meet Native Americans for the first time. Watching a documentary or something historical about the indigenous people. Not even a board game. Like even if schools used to contribute to myths and cultural appropriation, at least they had an activity to educate and as long as they are truthful now to what actually happened, that's a step in the right direction. No matter what, you can always learn more about the history. We should all remember the indigenous people.

It just comes across as privilege and cultural erasure to be able to enjoy a day about a nation of people while ignoring them and just eating with the fam and fighting about some orange pathological liar.
 
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ilium

Member
Oct 25, 2017
476
Vienna
For the people who say they use the holiday to be with family and eat, I don't see any mention of talking about or educating about the plight of Native Americans. Nothing about an activity outside to inform yourself more about the history, like going to a museum exhibit or an event/festival held by Native Americans. Joining in protests or talks about saving the lands. Getting to meet Native Americans for the first time. Watching a documentary or something historical about the indigenous people. Not even a board game. Like even if schools used to contribute to myths and cultural appropriation, at least they had an activity to educate and as long as they are truthful now to what actually happened, that's a step in the right direction. No matter what, you can always learn more about the history. We should all remember the indigenous people.
These are all good ideas.
But how about having just a pretty good thanksgiving dinner instead of a really good one, and donate the saved money to an indigenous organization in the area or elsewhere? This way there is less work preparing food and more time watching TV, the neoliberal order that makes people value their free time so strongly in the first place is uphold, and you don't have to think too much about being a cog in the colonial machine. It's kind of a win-win for everyone, which thanksgiving is all about, yeah?
 
Nov 1, 2017
718
For the people who say they use the holiday to be with family and eat, I don't see any mention of talking about or educating about the plight of Native Americans. Nothing about an activity outside to inform yourself more about the history, like going to a museum exhibit or an event/festival held by Native Americans. Joining in protests or talks about saving the lands. Getting to meet Native Americans for the first time. Watching a documentary or something historical about the indigenous people. Not even a board game. Like even if schools used to contribute to myths and cultural appropriation, at least they had an activity to educate and as long as they are truthful now to what actually happened, that's a step in the right direction. No matter what, you can always learn more about the history. We should all remember the indigenous people.

It just comes across as privilege and cultural erasure to be able to enjoy a day about a nation of people while ignoring them and just eating with the fam and fighting about some orange pathological liar.
These are all good ideas.
But how about having just a pretty good thanksgiving dinner instead of a really good one, and donate the saved money to an indigenous organization in the area or elsewhere? This way there is less work preparing food and more time watching TV, the neoliberal order that makes people value their free time so strongly in the first place is uphold, and you don't have to think too much about being a cog in the colonial machine. It's kind of a win-win for everyone, which thanksgiving is all about, yeah?
Yeah both of you highlight a few minor changes that would barely impact people's holiday. That was the sentiment I thought I was going to see when I first opened the topic and was honestly a little surprised that it wasn't.
 

Messofanego

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,907
UK
These are all good ideas.
But how about having just a pretty good thanksgiving dinner instead of a really good one, and donate the saved money to an indigenous organization in the area or elsewhere? This way there is less work preparing food and more time watching TV, the neoliberal order that makes people value their free time so strongly in the first place is uphold, and you don't have to think too much about being a cog in the colonial machine. It's kind of a win-win for everyone, which thanksgiving is all about, yeah?
Yup, that's a great idea too.
 

Soph

Member
Oct 25, 2017
845
Ah, this is open again. Good to see.

Ok, since my sentiment I posted in the OP was highly controversial with me making the suggestion (please note I was NOT urging people to stop celebrating Thanksgiving) for people to not celebrate or commemorate Thanksgiving, I have altered the OP to take that sentiment out.

I'm sorry for the controversy that sentiment has started.
You really didn't need to back down, although it might foster some actual worthwhile discussion this way. Good on you for being diplomatic.
 

McScroggz

The Fallen
Jan 11, 2018
2,905
For the people who say they use the holiday to be with family and eat, I don't see any mention of talking about or educating about the plight of Native Americans. Nothing about an activity outside to inform yourself more about the history, like going to a museum exhibit or an event/festival held by Native Americans. Joining in protests or talks about saving the lands. Getting to meet Native Americans for the first time. Watching a documentary or something historical about the indigenous people. Not even a board game. Like even if schools used to contribute to myths and cultural appropriation, at least they had an activity to educate and as long as they are truthful now to what actually happened, that's a step in the right direction. No matter what, you can always learn more about the history. We should all remember the indigenous people.

It just comes across as privilege and cultural erasure to be able to enjoy a day about a nation of people while ignoring them and just eating with the fam and fighting about some orange pathological liar.
I’m sorry but I feel like this is a really pessimistic wya to go about life. There are only a handful of days, for some people only two, in an entire year where they get together with friends and family for the expressed purpose of being happy and being around people they care about with the secondary cause of giving and being thankful.

I consider myself pretty progressive but I cannot get behind making a few days of the year dour because we want to educate people on the origins of the day that is now only superficially even apart of the holiday.

We have 365 days in a year. Let’s not be party poopers on the two or three days people agree to just be decent people. Like seriously guys, I don’t care about how right or justified you think you are...you are getting tunnel vision. It may seem ridiculous to think you are wrong considering the points you are trying to make but it’s precisely because you are ignoring the larger context that you are wrong.

The world sucks a lot of the year. Let’s not make Thanksgiving and Christmas and whatever other holidays suck because you can’t help yourself 😔

EDIT: Also, I asked my uncle’s wife who is a registered Native American as a part of the porch creek band of Indians what she thought, and it basically came down to this: Thanksgiving isn’t about the pilgrims and the Indians to her and she’s not offended about the holiday. In fact she looks forward to it because she gets to cook some semi-traditional foods from her culture, but more importantly it’s an opportunity to gather family together. And that’s what she, and I, want to emphasize.

There is a tendency to project what we view as the right progressive, emphatetic interpretations and values onto things in society especially whenever it’s concerning a minority. Sometimes that’s awesome! Sometimes it comes across as trying too hard or assuming a certain perspective for a minority as the majority that might not even be accurate. And at the end of the day while I know we aren’t supposed to just say “it’s just a holiday” truthfully that’s kind of where I land. If we can’t just have Thanksgiving and Christmas as a chance to relax and spend time with family and maybe do something for others then honestly I don’t know what to say. I couldn’t be friends with somebody who wants to force that sort of thing on gathering. If I acted that way I basically wouldn’t be able to relax with any of my family members on holidays.
 
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Messofanego

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,907
UK
I’m sorry but I feel like this is a really pessimistic wya to go about life. There are only a handful of days, for some people only two, in an entire year where they get together with friends and family for the expressed purpose of being happy and being around people they care about with the secondary cause of giving and being thankful.

I consider myself pretty progressive but I cannot get behind making a few days of the year dour because we want to educate people on the origins of the day that is now only superficially even apart of the holiday.

We have 365 days in a year. Let’s not be party poopers on the two or three days people agree to just be decent people. Like seriously guys, I don’t care about how right or justified you think you are...you are getting tunnel vision. It may seem ridiculous to think you are wrong considering the points you are trying to make but it’s precisely because you are ignoring the larger context that you are wrong.

The world sucks a lot of the year. Let’s not make Thanksgiving and Christmas and whatever other holidays suck because you can’t help yourself 😔
It's pessimistic to not just allow one day to give respect to the indigenous people that the rest share a country with. Native Americans aren't exactly living a great life, a lot are homeless, with broken homes, or below the poverty line. One or two days a year isn't gonna killl folks to care about them. There are plenty of holidays to turn off your brain, eat, get drunk, shoot fireworks, get presents, dress up, and just only have fun. Thanksgiving isn't the only holiday where you can have family time.

You don't ask for other important days to be endlessly happy go lucky. Thanksgiving doesn't have to be dour or pessimistic.

That seems like a personal problem for someone and their connection to family members that they only meet each other on a few scant holidays in a year rather than a valid rebuttal to avoid cultural context for a day about a nation of people. Also seems a problem of overworked Americans who barely get any holidays, which should change to be more like other countries with 27+ days of annual leave.
 

McScroggz

The Fallen
Jan 11, 2018
2,905
It's pessimistic to not just allow one day to give respect to the indigenous people that the rest share a country with. Native Americans aren't exactly living a great life, a lot are homeless, with broken homes, or below the poverty line. One or two days a year isn't gonna killl folks to care about them. There are plenty of holidays to turn off your brain, eat, get drunk, shoot fireworks, get presents, dress up, and just only have fun. Thanksgiving isn't the only holiday where you can have family time.

You don't ask for other important days to be endlessly happy go lucky. Thanksgiving doesn't have to be dour or pessimistic.

That seems like a personal problem for someone and their connection to family members that they only meet each other on a few scant holidays in a year rather than a valid rebuttal to avoid cultural context for a day about a nation of people. Also seems a problem of overworked Americans who barely get any holidays, which should change to be more like other countries with 27+ days of annual leave.
I would argue the vast majority of families in America use these “scant holidays” as an opportunity to gather so I don’t really appreciate how you are characterizing this. Why do we need to turn these two or three days where people that work hard and struggle to make it through the year into some referendum on American historical atrocities? It’s not the time or place to do that. I would argue it’s the height of privilege to view those days as the appropriate time, and I say this as somebody who has engaged in difficult and sometimes contentious debates with family and friends. I’ve lost friends because I couldn’t dissuade them from problematic beliefs.

However, my sister, husband, niece and nephew live several states away and on Christmas and maybe one other day or small period of the year are the only times I will see them all year and I’m not going to engage in heated discussions or have a somber remembrance of or recognition of historical tragedies. They don’t want to think about that. They want to have fun and enjoy the day or two they have to spend with people they love that they can’t be with. That’s how most people are regardless of how educated they are with America’s historical treatment of native Americans and I think it’s disingenuous to suggest kids are being so misinformed on our history that we need to stop and explain it on a holiday that is almost universally celebrated with little to no connection to the tragedies of how we treated native Americans.

I certainly don’t want to be banned for any amount of time, but I feel pretty strongly about this. It’s not a matter of pretending like America treated Native Americans well and we are celebrating that. If that is what Thanksgiving was actually framed as in any practical sense then I’d be cool with addressing the issues. But that’s NOT what the vast majority of people do on Thanksgiving or what they think about. Kids are taught in school about it. We can talk about it any day of the year and/or make an entire month dedicated to talking about and appreciating something like the plight of Native Americans.
 

McScroggz

The Fallen
Jan 11, 2018
2,905
To expound upon the idea of family and friends with troubling beliefs that I think is a large part of this discussion: one of my closest friends is a very progressive, middle-aged lesbian married to a husband that was a lesbian when they married and has since started his transition. We live in the Deep South. Needless to say not all of her family agrees with her life choices and it’s a pain that she harbors, but you know what? Once or twice a year she gets together with her family - some of which she gets along with and some she’s not super fond of - and she and they try to be kind and thankful; share gifts, eat food, catch up, etc. There’s always something that is said or done that she’s not happy about but overall she still appreciate the opportunity to be with her family.

The point is wanting a holiday like Thanksgiving and Christmas to just be a simple excuse to spend time with family and friends and to do good and be kind should be okay. Suggesting that wanting it to remain that way is privileged is pretty ironic because if you don’t have family/friends where complicating these holidays would cause an issue or you don’t care about isolating yourself from the family/friends that would get upset seems like the actual privilege.
 

Sanjuro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
14,935
Massachusetts
I'm from Plymouth. Ask me anything.

It might surprise people outside of Plymouth to learn that the town itself has been trying to educate people on the history of the time as a whole, but people are still going to believe whatever mythological story was built up around it.

For one, it's amazing there was relative peace for 50 years before King Philips war occurred. The Plymouth colony and Bay colony (Boston) were different sets of religious groups and did not get along. At all. You can still a line on the maps between the Old Colony and Bay Colony territory. The Bay colony was were most of the trouble with the natives began, so fuck Boston.

Yes, the local Wampanoag approached the pilgrims because they wanted the English (and their guns) on their side because they were fighting wars with other tribes at the time. The entire native population of the New England coast had been decimated by an epidemic 4 years prior to the arrival of Pilgrims. When they landed on Cape Cod they found unburied skeletal remains of those that didn't survive. They dug up existing graves and stores of food because they were out, at one time digging up the corpse of a woman and child who had blond hair. (No explanation for that.) They eventually landed at 'new plimoth' (what John Smith had labeled the Wampanoag village of Patuxet.) It was a nice little harbor with drinkable water and cleared land. The entire village had died in the epidemic (which was likely spread by European fishermen and traders.)

One settler killed herself by jumping off the Mayflower and drowning upon arrival in the New World. The pilgrims labeled her suicide an 'accident' so her soul wouldn't be condemned to hell for eternity. That first winter the Pilgrims were so afraid of the Wampanoag finding out that they were sick and dying that they propped the dead bodies up against trees to make them appear to be standing guard. They were buried in unmarked graves in Cole's hill, where over the next two hundred years the bones occasionally washed out and were interned in a stone sarcophagus at the top of the hill. The myth of Plymouth Rock is equally as weird, and mostly involves a drunken men's club.

The only time turkey is mentioned in "Of Plimoth Plantation" is as FOLLOWS:
And after ye time of ye writīg of these things befell a very sadd accidente of the like foule nature in this govermente, this very year, which I shall now relate. Ther was a youth whose name was Thomas Granger; he was servant to an honest man of Duxbery, being aboute 16. or 17. years of age. (His father & mother lived at the same time at Sityate.) He was this year detected of buggery (and indicted for ye same) with a mare, a cowe, tow goats, five sheep, 2. calves, and a turkey. Horrible [249] it is to mention, but ye truth of ye historie requires it. He was first discovered by one yt accidentally [475]saw his lewd practise towards the mare. (I forbear perticulers.) Being upon it examined and com̅itted, in ye end he not only confest ye fact with that beast at that time, but sundrie times before, and at severall times with all ye rest of ye forenamed in his indictmente; and this his free-confession was not only in private to ye magistrats, (though at first he strived to deney it,) but to sundrie, both ministers & others, and afterwards, upon his indictmente, to ye whole court & jury; and confirmed it at his execution. And wheras some of ye sheep could not so well be knowne by his description of them, others with them were brought before him, and he declared which were they, and which were not. And accordingly he was cast by ye jury, and condemned, and after executed about ye 8. of Septr, 1642. A very sade spectakle it was; for first the mare, and then ye cowe, and ye rest of ye lesser catle, were kild before his face, according to ye law, Levit: 20. 15. and then he him selfe was executed. The catle were all cast into a great & large pitte that was digged of purposs for them, and no use made of any part of them.

Not all of the native population was killed in King Philip's war. Just most of it. Many natives were shipped off to Jamaica into slavery. Communities of 'praying indians' survived. Large portions of the town were still owned by Wampanoag interests until 1870 when the State made a proclamation that all natives were Massachusetts residents and had the rights to do whatever with their land. Disenfranchised for generations most chose to sell large portions to pay off debts.

Plymouth, today, tries to use Thanksgiving as an opportunity to promote multicultural exchanges and community togetherness. History is fascinating. My hometown is beautiful, and complicated, and weird.
Plus you have a giant granite statue that some people in Plymouth don't even know is there.
 

Mammoth Jones

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,118
New York
People barely get time off as it is. No one is giving up that precious time to bond with family.

But I do think we’re in the process of changing the meaning/definition of Thanksgiving. That’s been the context of it in my household and everyone I know.

None of us are really celebrating the history of european aggression. For my family it’s a celebration of just surviving it. Just being thankful to all be together.
 

Sonicbug

Member
Oct 26, 2017
610
Plus you have a giant granite statue that some people in Plymouth don't even know is there.
Yeah. When they built that forefathers monument in the 1800's the town didn't exactly have trees everywhere and the view was unobstructed. (Going by old photographs at least.) Now it's a convenient spot to park for parades when everything else is full.

Speaking of which, the parade was today and the crowd was massive. I don't know how they plan on handling the crowds next year. It's going to be a complete zoo.
 

Sanjuro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
14,935
Massachusetts
Yeah. When they built that forefathers monument in the 1800's the town didn't exactly have trees everywhere and the view was unobstructed. (Going by old photographs at least.) Now it's a convenient spot to park for parades when everything else is full.

Speaking of which, the parade was today and the crowd was massive. I don't know how they plan on handling the crowds next year. It's going to be a complete zoo.
It's still impressive. One of the largest statues in MA.

Let's get a drink at BBC or get kicked out at T-Bones!