Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Meaning of Thanksgiving

I hate to be the one to ruin everybody's festivities, but where truth lies, it must be uncovered. What is thanksgiving? What does it represent? In school we were taught about the Mayflower and a wonderful feast between the Native Americans and the Pilgrims. The truth? Yes Native Americans, like Squanto, taught the Europeans all about this "new world" and how to cultivate it. What did they get in return for their services? 93 epidemics between 1520 and 1918, including 41 eruptions of smallpox. European disease wiped out 95% of the East Coastal tribal population. What else did the Europeans "give" to the Natives? Destroying their land, their bison, and their culture. Enslavement and indentured servants.

Okay, so maybe Thanksgiving is engraved in your family tradition, and it's a time of year when everyone has off of work and school and the whole family gets together to create memories and good times. Would it be too much to ask to say a prayer for the fallen civilizations Of aboriginal Americans, like the Iroquois and Seminoles and the displaced Natives of the Mississippi Ohio area like the Osage, Kaw, Ponca and Omaha? Say a prayer for them and for their descendants, who are still feeling the devastating effects of those European settlers.

As for me? I want to be with my family. I want to eat and be joyful, but can I really celebrate the destruction of someone else's culture? Which is a part of my culture, being able to trace the Cherokee blood in my own ancestry. Many Native Americans look at Thanksgiving as a day of mourning. I will never look at Turkey day the same again.

Judge Not!


Anonymous said...

As salam alaykum, you did not write that, (just kidding), that was well written and thought provoking. It was so inspiring that you have left me feeling guilty about dinner at Mama's house. And that is exactly what a blog should do with such a great title. Thank you

Anonymous said...

Barakallah Feekki! I was looking for a good explaination of ,why not to celebrate Thanksgiving, for my son to read and this worked. He was able to both read and understand without getting lost, like most of the youtube videos and internet info. That not only Islamically but morally, it isn't correct. And, some people say that it is not a religious Holiday but, the Pilgrims were Christians and they made Hijrah for the sole purpose of practicing their religion. Some also state that it's just an American Tradition and culture but, the "forefathers" established this country on Christian Law?(regardless, of how it turned out today). So, I tell my children, we have two Holidays and that's it. I take these breaks to educate my kids on the history behind these Holidays.

Muslim Mommy said...

Alhamdulillah, the fact that I have stirred up some thought and reflection means that my mission was successful! I am not telling people what to do, one way or the other. I'm just saying, let's not do things 'just 'cause.' When we know better, we do better!

Mushiyrah said...

I know there are many, particularly many in the Islamic community,who feel that the Thanksgiving holiday should not be celebrated as the origin of the holiday derives from a dark stain in the history of America, however, think about Septem
ber 11th. While it's now a memorial of a tragic historical event, some people focus on remembering to love those who are still with us, or doing something special in honor of those lost. Some food for thought.


Muslim Mommy said...

Thank you Mushiyrah!

Yes, see it's about intentions right? We cannot blindly follow. Whatever decision we make, it should be an educated one! As I see, you did your research and thought it through, so Alhamdulillah :) A few years ago, I went to my Grandma's house and spoke on the history as well as said a prayer for the fallen civilizations. Then we enjoyed the food and time with our family :) Allahu Alum!

May Allah guide us!