Thanksgiving is a time for family, food and friendship. A time for us to express thanks for all of the blessings we’ve received. Personally, I am thankful for Blackademics reaching a benchmark of 10,000 unique hits, I am thankful for brilliant contributors and visitors to the site who continue to challenge me with sharp arguments and observations, and I am thankful for Maya Angelou, bell hooks, John Hope Franklin and Angela Davis for their interviews. But while I believe it is important to recognize that for which we are thankful, I also believe that it would be dishonorable for us to forget the history behind this “holy”day. We must keep our Native Americans brothers and sisters in our minds and hearts as we give thanks, and pay honor the their memory.
The first official Thanksgiving was held in 1619, celebrating the developing sisterhood between the European immigrant settles (called Pilgrims), and the Squanto, a Native American nation, who helped the Pilgrims survive by showing them how to hunt, grow food and make medicine. The celebration, which included a great feast, followed in the tradition of the “harvest festival” which was already an integral part of both European and Squanto culture. But this was a deceptive friendship. In the following centuries, the Europeans would introduce forced migration, murder, rape and genocide to the Native Americans nations. As Blackademcis we are a people of color, whether you are Native American, African American, Latin-American, Afro-Caribbean, Afrikan, Indian, Pakistani or Iraqi, we should be able to relate to our Black and Brown sisters and brothers of Lumbee, Cherokee, Seminole, Sioux, Cheyenne, Mohawk, Onondaga, Mohegan and Squanto descent. We all have suffered from exploitation due to racism and imperialism, and we still suffer today. So when we say “thanks,” let us first remember and respect our ancestors for their sacrifices.