Some college students at Macalester College, a small college in St. Paul, Minnesota, seem to have genuine hostility to Thanksgiving, with some spouting that it’s “based off of the genocide of indigenous people,” a “bunch of capitalist bull****,” or an “unethical holiday.”
As Kyle Hooten reports for The College Fix, The College Fix visited the college to ask students their feelings about Thanksgiving and whether people should celebrate it. Hooten writes, “Most of the students said no, and several gave a qualified yes, that being it’s okay to celebrate Thanksgiving as long as one keeps in mind the oppression it represents or that it’s more about spending time with family than honoring the past. For those who said no, they mainly focused on themes such as oppression and colonization.”
Various comments made by the students included:
I think that Thanksgiving has been misconstrued a lot, especially in textbooks. It’s kind of just based off of the genocide of indigenous people and I don’t really think that we actually give thanks on Thanksgiving, we just eat a bunch of food and it’s just a bunch of capitalist bullshit.
Leaning towards no; I feel with the historical context, kind of the really awful oppression of indigenous people, like the holiday is really praised, by, I think, by people on the conservative side of things, to like, uphold that side of tradition.
Well, I mean, the entire thing is sort of based off indigenous people, the murder of indigenous people …
The public school education tells you that Thanksgiving was this great meeting where the native Americans showed the Pilgrims how to grow corn; obviously that’s not true … but what really happened on Thanksgiving I have no idea.
One student answered, “Not really, but what do Americans do but except for celebrate unethical holidays.” When asked what other holidays she considered “unethical,” the student answered, “Columbus Day … Christmas break should be labeled ‘Winter break’.”
The College Fix added, “After spending several hours speaking with students, The College Fix found only a handful who unabashedly supported Thanksgiving.”
As The Daily Wire noted in November 2018, Campus Reform reported that the University of Oregon held a whole event aimed at “decolonizing” Thanksgiving, which was called a celebration of “ongoing genocide.” The event page for “Thanks But No Thanks-giving” described the holiday as a “foundationally” corrupt gathering that celebrated the decimation of Native peoples thus:
Millions of families gather together every year to celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States. Many Americans do not grow up thinking much of the history behind the holiday. The main messages are that of gratitude, food, and family; however, Thanksgiving is, foundationally speaking, a celebration of the ongoing genocide against native peoples and cultures across the globe.
The Daily Wire also noted, “Over at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts, the school library declared Thanksgiving a ‘#NationalDayOfMourning.’ A professor at St. Mary’s College also created a toolkit for people to ‘decolonize’ and ‘de-romanticize’ Thanksgiving.”
The college students may not know that the Native American Squanto, who did indeed teach the Puritans how to farm, was actually a Christian. When he died, he asked the governor to pray for him so he could “go to the Englishmen’s God in heaven.”