Remember the real Americans on Thanksgiving
This Thanksgiving, as you sit in the middle of that dinning room used once a year, think about a community that is often misrepresented and, regretfully, forgotten: Native Americans.
Native Americans are an indigenous group who has survived the colonization of the Europeans in North America. They should not only be remembered, but be celebrated, recognized and respected by the government as well as society.
After all, they are the real Americans.
Thanksgiving dates back to the seventeenth century when Pilgrims, the early colonists of the Plymouth Colony, celebrated a successful harvest season with 90 Native Americans who were invited as guests.
The genocide of Native Americans by colonists is one often omitted from historic records.
“On Thanksgiving Day, we give thanks. We give thanks for being the invader, the exploiter, the dominator, the greedy, the gluttonous, the colonizer, the thief, indeed the genocidaire,” said sociology professor Dan Brook from the University of California at Berkeley.
It’s been over 500 years since the beginning of the Native Americans’ era of genocide.
“Native Americans, at least those who have survived the over 500-year-genocidal project, are the poorest ethnic group in the richest country of the world,” Brook said.
This trauma has left wounds in the lives of Native Americans struggling to find their long lost honor stolen by the hands of the colonizers.
Exactly one year ago, the United States Census Bureau reported the population of Native Americans at 5.2 million, taking up only 2 percent of the total population reported in 2013.
Not only are they a demographic minority, but many are living in poor conditions.
“The federal government is responsible for managing Indian affairs for the benefit of all Indians,” Forbe’s Shawn Regan said. “But by all accounts the government has failed to live up to this responsibility. As a result, Native American reservations are among the poorest communities in the United States.”
The federal government is to blame for much of the past mistreatment of Native Americans in society. Unfortunately, the damage is done. Our society should not be blamed entirely for what happened hundreds of years ago to Native Americans.
In a world where there is a lack of originality and traditions, where dinners are often seated in solitude and praying is extinct, Native Americans and their values merit additional celebration.
Allow this publication be a call to action to do one thing that will impact them positively, from looking for ways to help these people, to simply researching more about them, to learn their censored truth.
Some might cling to making memories shared with family, watch football and attempt to deny any sense of responsibility, or convey any remorse for the genocide of Native Americans.
This Thanksgiving, as you cut the pumpkin pie and get as stuffed as the turkey on the table, remember Native Americans — past and present.
Opinion columnist Sebastian Troitiño is a finance and marketing junior and may be reached at [email protected]