The lies we teach our children: THANKSGIVING

The lies we teach our children: THANKSGIVING

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Neil Hanamura started this petition to U.S. Department of Education and

The lies we teach our children:  THANKSGIVING 

As a child Thanksgiving was always one of my favorite holidays to celebrate.  All of my family would travel far and wide to come together on this special day.  And the best part of it all was the food! 

Steaming hot turkey that’s crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside.  The hand made mashed potatoes with dripping gravy that I love spilling all over the turkey and stuffing.  The special sweet cranberry sauce that my grandmother would make, the warm soft biscuits for everyone and I can’t forget my favorite deviled eggs. My grandmother gracefully circling  the table, making sure everyone's  plates and cups were full before we said our blessing. The noise of siblings and cousins playing while the adults napped. 

But what if this is all a lie? The foundation of this holiday is not the Hallmark commercial that is taught in schools. We know the truth. So why do we  keep teaching our children this lie? Why is this still acceptable in our culture?

It was only in 1924 when Native Americans were allowed to become citizens of the United States - and it took decades more for all states to permit them to vote.  It is a story of supposed unity, drained of the bloodshed, and built for the sake of division.  

Many indigenous people refuse to celebrate Thanksgiving, protesting the whitewashing of the horrors their ancestors went through, and I don’t blame them.  I personally struggle myself with celebrating this holiday.  I still go to my family Thanksgiving dinners but my heart is in a different space and I have changed how I practice it today.   

Here is the truth that I along with every other parent in America have to decide.  Do we tell our kids the truth or do we keep telling our kids the same lies that are still in our history books today?  I choose the truth every time.  

As a parent of three beautiful children, two of which are 50% Indian (Native American) from the Chiricahua Apache tribe out of Arizona and New Mexico, I found myself at a crossroads when my 10 year old son started asking me questions about what he was learning in school about Thanksgiving and about his ancestors.  I felt this pressure racing through my mind and an uncomfortable situation I was in as I started thinking to myself what to say to my son.  I wanted to support our schools and teachers but I also needed to tell my son the truth and be honest with him about his people.  You can only imagine the flood of questions he had about these lies. 

I have to ask myself, how is it okay to feast on the best family dinner night of the year that we call Thanksgiving while thousands of people to this day are still suffering and hurting from the lies we teach our children??  It’s time to wake up America and own our mistakes, learn from our mistakes and be better.  Be better for our children, be better for the history we are creating today, be better for a people who have suffered so much already and be better for this beautiful nation we call home.  How do we expect to move forward as a nation if we can’t even own our mistakes and do better than our past?  

American traditions can be some of the best moments of our lives.  But the truth is, no matter where you live in North America, you are on indigenous land.  We don’t need this poisonous “pilgrims and Indians” narrative.  We don’t need that illusion of past unity to actually unite people today.  We are better than this.  If you feel it is finally time to make a change, finally time to stand up for what is right and teach our children the truth about Thanksgiving, I would like to invite you to sign this petition.

We are setting a goal of 74,680 signatures which is 4% of the voting population in Oregon.  We are starting local to make this changes in our Oregon communities first before taking this to a broader scale.  In order to hit this goal we would like to ask everyone to share this petition with all of your friends and family on your social media platforms. If you are not from Oregon we also welcome you to sign and share this petition.     

We thank you so much for your support!

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