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Native American students stress Native Americans' importance on Thanksgiving - The Red and Black : Diversity

Native American students stress Native Americans' importance on Thanksgiving

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Posted: Monday, November 19, 2012 7:00 am | Updated: 8:14 pm, Sun Nov 25, 2012.

This Thanksgiving break, thoughts of the fate that befell the Native Americans after they broke bread with the pilgrims will fall by the wayside.

The Thanksgiving holiday was simply a precursor to the displacement and bloodshed that the Native Americans faced in the following years, according to The Huffington Post.

Kenna Rodgers, a first-year sports management and broadcasting major from Thomasville, said she has no aversion to Thanksgiving, despite coming from Native American descent.

“[The Native American experience] is usually not the first thing that comes to mind. We usually just don’t talk about it,” Rodgers said. “But from what I do know, I feel as if the pilgrims took advantage of the Native Americans and the good deeds they did for them.”

Though she enjoys the holiday, Rodgers said she does not enjoy how far the history of the holiday has strayed from its roots.

“I feel like it has become so commercialized," Rodgers said. “No one really pays attention to the people who were here first and everything they put into the land.”

Carolyn Williams, a fourth-year magazine journalism major from Denver, is also of Native American descent. Williams agreed that when it comes to history, the Native Americans and their betrayed benevolence is often overlooked.

“I’m proud of being Native American, and I really wish the people would focus more on how the Native Americans helped the pilgrims,” Williams said. “As of now, I feel as if they’re just an afterthought. People need to delve deeper into the history of Thanksgiving and appreciate what the Native Americans did a little more.”

Charles Gupton, a first-year business major from Alexandria, Va., said during Thanksgiving, he tends to focus on the festivities. But he admitted that thoughts of the holiday’s true history cross his mind from time to time.

“Every now and then throughout the day, I’ll think about [what the Native Americans had to go through] but not to an overwhelming extent,” Gupton said. “It’s kind of like an unwritten history that we all know took place but no one really wants to discuss.”

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