I’m a big proponent of Indigenous Peoples’ Day as a wholesale replacement for Columbus Day. I hate that Columbus is still part of the curricula at my kids’ schools, and that there haven’t even been updates to correct the myth. To top it off, I think the Indigenous People of North America are long overdue for some recognition.
Anyway, a meme has been circulating the internet recently challenging those who are against Columbus Day but still celebrate Thanksgiving. I admit, I paused. Why am I okay with the mythology, the lies surrounding Thanksgiving but so opposed to Columbus? Here’s my answer: I’m not. I don’t teach my kids about the First Thanksgiving except to put it in the larger context of the ill-fated kindness of the natives and how they were ultimately repaid.
Unlike Columbus Day, which is not dedicated to the discovery of the Americas or even the sea-faring spirit of the time, but to the man himself, Thanksgiving has evolved.
While pilgrims and maize may play part in some traditions, mostly the holiday has become about food and family. It’s a time of gathering and celebrating the bountiful harvest and warming up in the cold months. It’s a holiday to break up the often gray and monotonous November with some warmth and cheer before we are thrown into the depths of winter.
Much like the evolution of Halloween through the ages, Thanksgiving has come to reflect a notion of togetherness and celebration, and the minute Columbus Day evolves past the current trope of a brave explorer discovering America to a recognition of the people and civilizations that existed and were demolished in part by the poorly-executed voyage, I will gladly hop aboard that train as well.
Maybe that makes me a little hypocritical, maybe it means I’m inconsistent, but just like all of you, I’m here doing my best, trying to make sense of the world and proceed with my eyes and mind open.
What do you think about Columbus Day? Does that impact your view of Thanksgiving? Let me know in the comments!