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World Day for African and Afrodescendant Culture23. January 2023
Thanksgiving is celebrated on November 24 in the United States and Canada as a harvest festival. In this way, the discovery of the “New World” and the peaceful coexistence between European settlers and American Natives are celebrated in word and deed.
Thanksgiving is celebrated on November 24 in the United States and Canada as a harvest festival. In this way, the discovery of the "New World" and the peaceful coexistence between European settlers and American Natives are celebrated in word and deed.
Mostly, however, the history behind it is hidden or concealed. Many have the attitude to regard the past as a neutral state of knowledge. The true events are simply reformulated due to the bad events, as if the history was another.
Historians have found that many of the details of the traditional Thanksgiving story are true, but they have ignored the fact that for centuries indigenous people were driven off their land and brutally murdered.
Behind this is the following event: At the beginning of the 19th century, the newly founded United States of America tried to gain more and more land. In 1803, the U.S. bought what is now the Midwest from France in the so-called Louisiana Purchase. About 40 years later, the United States gained the southwestern territories along the Pacific coast after the Mexican-American War.
Relationship between the two populations
It follows that the Thanksgiving story should normally be seen as problematic because the relationship between indigenous peoples and European settlers in North America is portrayed as rather harmonious. In this respect, Thanksgiving is seen more as a peaceful gathering and less attention is paid to the background of having gained American independence through violent confrontation with indigenous peoples.
Thanksgiving thus tends to reflect for many Americans the views of equal life, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness that came about as a result of American independence. However, not "all people" in the new United States benefit from these values, as indigenous people have benefitted less from freedom and justice. And structural inequality is still a major problem today.
Meaning of Thanksgiving for Americans
In spite of everything, the US-Americans like to celebrate Thanksgiving, because for many people it is a day of warmth, family and friendship. People come together and reflect on how good their lives are and how important American independence is for them and for their country.