Kajirr The fictitious nature of the positive relations between the early settlers and indians during what is arguably the first thanksgiving was not a continuous event into more modern times. Our greatest opposition to our peaceful protest was the Dining Hall Administration, who felt the need to call in the police and the fire marshall to determine whether or not students were obstructing entry and exit points, making them a fire hazard to be forcibly removed. This action by Massasoit was probably our greatest mistake… James retells this account with the strong insightful detail of knowing the name of the Wampanoag tribal leader that had chosen to befriend the pilgrims and a number of unsavory actions the pilgrims had committed that are never mentioned in colonial history books, but have nonetheless been passed down through the oral tradition. Nevertheless, the feast that occurred between the Wampanoag and Pilgrims is perpetuated as the end-all-be-all of interracial relations between settlers and Native America as a whole. We each had a portion to contribute and played crucial roles in the multi-ethnic and racial information that we were attempting to get across, something that would not have been as potent had we been separate, isolated events. Inhe was asked to deliver a speech at the spot in Plymouth where the original Thanksgiving was supposed to have occurred Oyate The co-occurrence of wild and domesticated birds makes a perfect metaphor for Native Americans.

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All r i g ht s reserve d. N ot for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. Through the consummation of a sacred meal, a diverse collection of immigrants become the descendants of the Pilgrims. In every household that considers itselfAmencan or desires to become American, Thanksgiving brings family members back home, ritually strengthening attenuated ties of kinship and investing the set of meanings incorporated in being an Amencan with the emotional intensity and significance of family.

This article traces the develop- ment and analyzes the meanings of this ritual and its symbols. Though traditions are invented and nations imagined, Thanksgiving is a day on which all persons who consider themselves Americans celebrate or avoid a ritual family feast, centered around a stuffed turkey. For many it is a four-day holiday, a precious long weekend. There are special services, which some attend, and turkeys and other foods are given by churches and other charitable organizations to the poor.

Servicemen overseas are fed the traditional Thanksgiving dinner at great public expense. There are those who counterculturally contest the mythic representations of this day; there are those who firmly decide not to go home or not to eat turkey, but it is impossible to be an American and be unaware of Thanksgiving.


Janet Sisking - The Invention of Thanksgiving

Brownscombe, Photo: Wikimedia Commons Everything must be invented, and the modern Thanksgiving—feast, founding story, and all—is no exception. The American holiday developed over centuries, in pace with the larger culture. Early Americans might have trouble recognizing the holiday if they could see it today, but there is plenty for current celebrants to learn from that history. Tracing whatever the dominant culture celebrated in successive eras reveals a strange and sometimes brutal tour of the past.


The Invention of Thanksgiving


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