Every year as autumn presses onward, people from all over gather with friends and family to enjoy a feast. Thanksgiving this year will fall on Nov. 25. This holiday originally was to honor the pilgrims and Native Americans that once came together to share a meal and be grateful for the successful food they gathered together. 2021 marks 400 years since the first Thanksgiving was celebrated. 42Fifty Editors Brady and Jasper debate on the importance of this holiday and if it should continue to be celebrated. 

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Brady Monahan, Sports Editor: Thank you for Thanksgiving!

The holiday of Thanksgiving is perfect for seeing family, eating so much you sleep for half the day, and playing tackle football in the leaves. Yes, being one that loves sports, going outside when the weather is nice and cool and cloudy is perfect for playing in. However, in the fall, it is made even better with the trees and leaves on the ground allowing me and my family to play some of the best football games. After playing football, we get to come inside and be with our family and friends and catch up with one another. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, a Chicago Bears game, or the National Dog Show will be on the television no matter what. 

After all of that, the food is next, which is my favorite. My family will have an assortment of food with the focus obviously being the turkey. However, there will always be ham, mashed potatoes, and even jello for afterwards. It’s the one holiday wear I can eat as much food as I can and it is great.  

In the end, it is all about seeing family that I may only see three times a year. We share stories about our recent past and laugh together. We even all come together and play some really fun games. Thanksgiving is great because there is no competition of who has the biggest present on Christmas or the most eggs on Easter. It’s all about having the best time with my family. Therefore, I can not wait to see my family on Nov. 25.

While seeing family ignores the origin and history of the holiday, Jasper brings up a good point, and highlights the reason why Thanksgiving started.

Jasper Palleson, Arts and Opinion editor: Thanksgiving needs to be canceled 

As children, we were taught that Native Americans found pilgrims when they arrived on this land, and taught them to live and farm. Then, they all came together in union for this feast. This glamorized and whitewashed story is far from the historical truth. The Wampanoag tribe who made contact with the colonists at Plymouth originally reached out in order to form an alliance because their tribe had been devastated by diseases. Despite popular belief, this was not the first time that the Wampanoags had contact with Europeans. In fact, the Wampanoags already had a century of history shared with Euopeans through bloody raids of native villages and being enslaved by European fishermen. This tribe had members who had even crossed the ocean, been to Europe, and already had a few English translators in the group. 

The peace between the colonists and the Native Americans was not held for long, for the Europeans continued  to encroach on natives’ land. With the pursuit of expansion, the colonists began King Philip’s War. Bloody and deadly, the war between the New England colonists and the New England natives took place only 50 years after the supposed first Thanksgiving. Hundreds of Wampanoags were killed or enslaved, and those who remained were left landless. 

This continued to happen all over the United States; Native Americans were massacred and deceived. White colonists continued to push Native Americans out of their homes until there was nowhere left to go, then built a country on land they stole. 

Yet this is something that we as a country just overlook. When Abraham Lincoln implemented Thanksgiving as a holiday to be celebrated nationally, it was to influence the American people into patriotism for the Pilgrims who “founded” the land, despite that not being the truth. Americans still celebrate Thanksgiving every year with turkeys, parades, and some football, even though the origins of this celebration are based in deception. The traditions shared by American families across the United States that accompany this holiday mainly supported the idea of coming together, and being grateful for your family. I find it  hypocritical to turn a dark time in history where many had their homes and lives taken from them, into a holiday that just supports mass consumerism justified by a large family celebration. 

The United States continues to do nothing to honor or be thankful for the native land we live on and the natives who taught our ancestors how to survive here. Thanksgiving serves as a dark reminder of the United States’ history and of the slaughtering of thousands of innocent Native Americans.This holiday needs to be canceled or at least changed to acknowledge the devastation we have caused to the Native Americans who were here first.

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