This should be an easy column to write this week. However, I found it extremely difficult.
I am a firm believer as a journalist and as an honest person that I not write anything that is not true. I owe it to you and to me. Perhaps I owe it to the past.
I had decided to look for fun facts about Thanksgiving, and sometimes research hits you right between the eyes. You find things that you never knew and those that cause you to pause and reassess. Did you know that our current Thanksgiving came into being after WWI? It was promoted through text books and in elementary schools to nationally inspire. Hm. I certainly thought that it was Pilgrims and Native Americans. Hm, again.
The Thanksgiving that we currently celebrate was on a day that defies celebration. It was a day of slaughter of an entire tribe of Pequot Indians. There was an earlier meal with Squanto and the Puritans. Squanto was the only Patuxet to survive smallpox left behind by white men when their ships came in to steal slaves from the tribe. He did teach the Puritans to raise corn and to fish. He also caused many problems. Problems that led to the entire Pequot tribe being wiped out on our Thanksgiving Day. A day when women, children, the entire tribe died at the hands of people who took their land. A day when that tribe would have celebrated their Green Corn Festival.
You can check the facts. They are there for the reading, the tears, and the sorrow we should all feel. In reading about this tragedy, I found myself thinking of the hate we see today. A hate that has brooded for centuries. A hate against race, a hate against religious belief, a hate against sexual orientation. Hate that is based in ignorance. The same type of hate and ignorance that took the lives of a tribe. The same hate that people hold on to so they can feel justified.
No, we don’t want our Thanksgiving spoiled by remembering its roots. We want it to be about turkey, family, all the things we feel we deserve to embrace this one time a year. Things that make us thankful. Perhaps we are thinking that we are now civilized and have moved on from that place in 1637. I am wondering if we have learned much.
My new Thanksgiving creed changes this year. I am thankful for the many colors of humanity, for the many voices that in different tones that reach the ear of the same God, for the differences in people that I am asked to embrace and not condemn. I am thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving, my friends. It is a time of thanks and of giving.
Pamela Loxley Drake is a former resident of Darke County and is the author of Neff Road and A Grandparent Voice blog. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.