Raven Report

How people with indigenous roots celebrate Thanksgiving

Caitlin Sorensen, Staff Reporter

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The story told about pilgrims and Native Americans celebrating together in the first Thanksgiving has much more to the story for people with indigenous roots.

“Pretty much all the Native Americans had was taken from them,” said Rubyette Olivas a paraprofessional who lived on the Yaqui tribe reservation as a child. “So a lot of Native Americans tend to carry that on so when it comes to Thanksgiving. It’s not a celebration because they feel the day was almost built on a lie for them.”

According to an article by National Geographic, Thanksgiving wasn’t even a celebrated holiday until 1817 when certain states started to adopt the tradition of the holiday, close to 200 years after the date of the first Thanksgiving in 1621.

“We don’t celebrate the history of the holiday,” said freshman Ben Duran, who has indigenous roots. “We celebrate family.”

Nearby in San Francisco, the Indigenous People’s Sunrise Gathering is held on Alcatraz Island to remember the history of the holiday there as well.

“The holiday is also a reminder of betrayal and bloodshed. Native Americans gather and give back remembrance of their ancestors,” Olivas said. “They’ll kind of mourn in a way.”

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How people with indigenous roots celebrate Thanksgiving