cave wall with native american art
The original inhabitants of these territories had to abandon them. Photo: Pixabay.

Thanksgiving: Mourning also happens on this day

Amid the festive activities carried out by millions in North America, there are those who question the celebration and consider it a tribute to the genocide.


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What for most Americans is a special celebration around a massive amount of food, came to be after a whitewashing of historical context. For the Native American tribes of North America, Thanksgiving is a date of mourning as they remember the extermination of the tribes that lived there.

The myth of the arrival of the British in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and how they lived harmoniously with the Indigenous people of the Wampanoag tribe, has been increasingly questioned. On the contrary, there was a rapid decline in the numbers of these communities as they were quickly and systematically decimated.

Breaking with white tradition
In 1970, after a Native American was chosen to share some words at a Thanksgiving celebration at the Massachusetts Department of Commerce, the National Indian Day of Mourning was born.
After the organizers of the event tried to censor the speech, which did not convey appreciation to the British settlers, and instead spoke of the disease, war and death those who arrived aboard the Mayflower brought with them, the man went quiet.
The speech by Wamsutta Frank James, a Native American and leader of the League of the Federated Indies and the first Native American to graduate from the New England Conservatory of Music, and who died in 2001, contained a meaningful and very dissenting fragment regarding the meeting of these two worlds:
"We, the Wampanoag, received the white men with open arms, not knowing that it was the beginning of the end," he said.
The Wampanoag have also called out that after the arrival of the Europeans, their population quickly went from 1 million to a little over 200,000 in 1900, demonstrating that there never was a harmonious coexistence between the newcomers and the natives, who were forced to leave their lands and their culture.

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