Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

How to Survive Christmas If You’re a Grinch

By Sara Cepollina

Pho­to Cred­it: “The Grinch (right) with his dog Max”

Every­one has a friend who hates Christ­mas. Guess what? I’m that friend. The first time I told a friend of mine that I dis­like Christ­mas, I could see pure con­fu­sion in her eyes. She start­ed ask­ing me why, what hap­pened, and if I had any trau­ma. At first, I thought that not lik­ing it was wrong. I mean, how can some­one not like the most won­der­ful time of the year? Then, I came to a con­clu­sion: it’s because of soci­ety. Have you ever noticed what hap­pens after Thanks­giv­ing?  

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Thanksgiving or I’d Rather Not Be Invited

By Maria Moss

Pho­to Cred­it: “A wild turkey spot­ted in a Man­i­to­ban provin­cial park” by Vince Pahkala

For Thanks­giv­ing, let’s do with­out turkeys, these beau­ti­ful birds that Ben­jamin Franklin called “true Amer­i­can orig­i­nals.” Well, a lot of good that did them! More than 46 mil­lion are killed each year at Thanks­giv­ing alone.

Ben Franklin admired their resource­ful­ness, agili­ty, and beau­ty. In nature, turkeys can fly 55 miles an hour, run 25 miles an hour, and live up to four years. Yet turkeys raised for food are killed at the age of 5 months and – dur­ing their short lives – will be denied even the sim­plest plea­sures, such as run­ning, build­ing nests, and rais­ing their young.

But let’s not only think about turkeys, let’s also think about ourselves.

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Hiding in Plain Sight: Legacies of Colonization in New England and the 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower

By Christoph Strobel

Mayflower II, a repli­ca of the orig­i­nal Mayflower docked at Ply­mouth, Massachusetts

Ear­ly in Novem­ber 1620, after a rough Atlantic cross­ing of about two months, an aging ship called Mayflower arrived in the coastal waters of what we today call Cape Cod Bay. By mid-Decem­ber, the colonists had cho­sen a site they called Ply­mouth, which is about 40 miles south of the cur­rent city of Boston. Although Eng­lish col­o­niza­tion had begun fur­ther south in the Chesa­peake Bay area over a decade ear­li­er – not to speak of even ear­li­er Span­ish and French efforts – the arrival of the Mayflower is fre­quent­ly imag­ined by many in Amer­i­can main­stream soci­ety as the found­ing moment of the Unit­ed States. Large­ly spurred and pop­u­lar­ized by the Thanks­giv­ing hol­i­day, this found­ing myth all too often min­i­mizes the impact of col­o­niza­tion on the indige­nous peo­ples of the region; theirs is a his­to­ry that hides in plain sight.

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Thanksgiving and the Ambiguity of Memory

By Christoph Strobel

It was in the late after­noon on Novem­ber 22, 2018. Even by New Eng­land stan­dards, the weath­er was cold and blus­tery. Out­side of a dor­mi­to­ry at the uni­ver­si­ty where I teach, I met up with a Ger­man stu­dent who spent the 2018 fall semes­ter as a Ful­bright exchange stu­dent at my insti­tu­tion. My fam­i­ly had him over for din­ner before, and, as he had no place to go for Thanks­giv­ing, we invit­ed him to spend the hol­i­day din­ner at our house along with a few oth­er friends. When I picked him up, he was clear­ly sur­prised as the dor­mi­to­ry and the uni­ver­si­ty appeared com­plete­ly aban­doned. I explained to him that Thanks­giv­ing was ‘the’ big fam­i­ly event in the Unit­ed States and that extend­ed fam­i­lies are more like­ly to get togeth­er dur­ing this hol­i­day than for Christ­mas or the Fourth of July.

The din­ner table – resplen­dent with a large roast­ed turkey, mash pota­toes, var­i­ous breads and greens, as well as sweet pota­to and cran­ber­ry dish­es – remind­ed me of my first Thanks­giv­ings in 1993. I had just arrived in the U.S. and was look­ing for­ward to my job as a Ger­man lan­guage assis­tant at a small lib­er­al arts col­lege. Since those days, I have often won­dered about the var­i­ous mean­ings that Amer­i­cans ascribe to the hol­i­day and the some­times ambigu­ous and even con­test­ed rela­tion­ship that many have with Thanks­giv­ing. As a his­to­ri­an, I am fas­ci­nat­ed by how the his­to­ry that sur­rounds the hol­i­day is often ignored or san­i­tized by many in main­stream Amer­i­can soci­ety. In fact, Native Amer­i­cans tend to have an entire­ly dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive on Thanks­giv­ing, but more about that later.

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