History of Thanksgiving | Indians in Georgia

For those who see the holiday as a day to celebrate gratitude, the holiday was actually used to glorify the theft and massacre of Native Americans.

ATLANTA – A group of Indigenous leaders brought the struggles of their ancestors to the attention of a new generation with a lesson in the true nature of Thanksgiving.

dr Monika Ponton Arrington, director of Georgia Indigenous Diversity, briefed students at Georgia State University on the exploitation of indigenous people as the holiday approaches.

“We’re letting people know that we’re here, that our home is here, and we don’t plan on leaving anytime soon,” Arrington said.

Arrington is a Native American herself. The Boriken Taino wants to be an advocate for younger generations.

“You read the history books from an author’s perspective simply because they interviewed someone. But when they hear from someone who is actually Native American, it just has a different meaning,” said Aditi Tamhane, a GSU graduate student.

For those who see the holiday as a day to celebrate gratitude, the holiday was actually used to glorify the theft and massacre of Native Americans.

In her lesson, Arrington reiterated that the native people welcomed both the pilgrims and the Europeans who helped them adjust to the new land.

Native gratitude was mistaken for greed as Europeans grew hungry for more food.

“The pilgrims were actually celebrating taking the food and taking the harvest from the people. That was their celebration of taking the harvest,” Arrington said.

She said the pilgrims killed many indigenous people and enslaved their children.

“Actually, we now considered it a day of mourning. We celebrate, but not thanksgiving, but a celebration where the family comes together, said Arrington.

The students who attended the lesson gained a better understanding of Aboriginal roots, they said. Arrington made a lasting impression on students by sharing the struggles of those who came before her.

“I got to know the difficulties they went through, it’s easy for me to understand because I also come from a different background and I’ve had to go through difficulties,” Tamhane said.

Arrington encourages everyone to watch a documentary and learn more about Native Americans here in Georgia.

“It’s no different for us. We bleed just like you. We live in homes. We drive cars,” Arrington said.

This story is part of a series of stories by 11Alives Dawn White for Native American Heritage Month.

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