Gone is a day for us to give thanks.

In 1863, during the midst of the U.S. Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving an official U.S. holiday, according to history.com. It was decided that Thanksgiving would be a day to celebrate the harvest and the hard work many people put in to make the dinner occur.

Thanksgiving was once a day of happiness and excitement, a day for Americans to sit around the table with our friends and family and be thankful.

Now it’s a day of shopping and fighting in the middle of stores.

Starting at 5 p.m. on Thursday evening, nearly 35 million people will abruptly end their day with family and friends to focus on buying the newest tech device, according to thebalance.com. Black Friday is no longer a day to explore shopping deals after spending time with family; it’s a season that starts in early November where we focus on ways to expand our greed, according to theatlantic.com.

In order to try to promote the true meaning of Thanksgiving, many stores, such as T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods, use television advertisements that focus on the idea of a family fighting for another piece of pie at home rather than fighting over a iPod or the newest high-definition television.

But is the “true meaning” of Thanksgiving really the truth?

We are taught that Thanksgiving was built upon the idea of different cultures, religions and races coming together to celebrate what we are thankful for.

As schoolchildren, we make construction paper Pilgrims and Indians, then glue them together holding hands to paint beautiful picture of the peaceful and harmonious first Thanksgiving feast.

The truth is the relationship between the Native Americans and the early colonists wasn’t so picture-perfect.

In fact, it was built upon the genocide of many Native Americans, according to finalcall.com.

Some Native Americans still use this day to commemorate their ancestors’ deaths. Since 1970, some Wampanoag people have gathered at the top of Cole’s Hill, which overlooks Plymouth Rock, to commemorate a day of mourning for the millions who were slaughtered by the Pilgrims and other colonists, according to history.com.

They, along with other tribes still in existence, believe our poor education on the topic is just a way for Americans to paint a deceptive portrait on the bloody history of Thanksgiving.

One way we can commemorate the Native Americans who died many years ago at the hands of our ancestors is by stopping the building of the Dakota pipeline.

The Dakota Access Pipeline Project will be a 1,172-mile pipeline that will stretch from North Dakota to Illinois to produce light crude oil from North Dakota to reach numerous major refining markets, according to daplpipelinefacts.com.

The problem is that the pipeline will stretch across many Sioux reservations, which were created to protect the lives of the Sioux that live there, and allow for their communities to grow.

The executive branch of our government needs to create a way to reroute the pipeline away from the reservations or just banish the idea in order to keep with the treaties we’ve already made with Sioux. Otherwise, we are just reliving our past mistakes of mistreating an entire ethnic group.

Use Thanksgiving to be thankful for your family and friends, and for everything they do for you.

Instead of wasting your hours in a line waiting for Wal-Mart to open at 6 p.m. on Thursday, teach your family the true meaning of the holiday, and what really happened between the Pilgrims and Native Americans.

Do not allow this myth of a peaceful past to continue. Inform others of the truth, and get involved in preventing it from happening again.

 

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