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Putting a better spin on the festive feast, Thanksgiving

Joel Molina
Many Americans fail to address the issue of the holiday as it is troubling for Indigenous people as a reminder to them that their land was stolen due to colonialism.

It is time to get the stuffing, cranberry sauce and turkey because the season of giving is right around the corner. 

As Thanksgiving approaches, so do the uprises of people speaking on the issue of how corrupt the true meaning of the holiday is. Many Americans fail to realize that Thanksgiving can be a daunting time for Indigenous people as it is a reminder that their land was stolen due to colonialism.   

Plenty of individuals have voiced their opinion on why the holiday is a way to glorify colonialism and the dark history behind it.  

With individuals fed-up about the holiday, some are shifting their perception of the holiday and rebranding the original meaning of it all.   

 The controversy behind the holiday many people like UTEP student Ivanna Villela have taken matters into their own hands and changed the meaning of Thanksgiving in a new way.   

“I feel not enough people actually celebrate the original meaning of Thanksgiving out of respect for Indigenous people,” Villela said.   

In an NPR article, it mentions the perspective of the larger issue of the education system informing students incorrectly about the ‘first Thanksgiving.’  

It was taught with a false narrative that Pilgrims came to America with good spirits and wanted to have a feast with the Wampanoag tribe who already lived in America prior to the Pilgrims arrival. This is part of the mythology of ‘White America’.   

Some people aren’t aware of the gruesome facts that come with the holiday. Villela mentions how she and her family did not know the true meaning of Thanksgiving for the longest time until they rebranded the meaning themselves.   

“Me and my family just celebrate by giving thanks,” Villela said. “The big part what we mess up is that we don’t know the true meaning, but we just turned it into a bigger focus of making it a family orientated holiday.”   

While the intended meaning of Thanksgiving sometimes leaves a bitter taste in people’s lives, people are taking the holiday and giving it a new meaning.  

UTEP student Cesar Gamino talks about how he uses Thanksgiving as a time to be appreciative for his family, everyone around him, and the things he has.  

“For me personally, Thanksgiving is more of a time where I don’t read into the holiday itself in the meaning but more for spending time with my family,” Gamino said. “When I lived in Houston, I didn’t get to spend Thanksgiving with family and when I got to El Paso it was a way to see family, I haven’t seen in five-six years all together.”   

UTEP student Saree Ramirez also gives her own take on the holiday.   

“I rebranded Thanksgiving into just a time to be thankful for what I have around me,” Ramirez said. “Me and my family go our own way and forget the true meaning behind it and take the time to give thanks and be grateful for what we have.”  

When celebrating Thanksgiving this year, remember to be mindful of the true story of the holiday history and respect other family and friends’ ideologies.  

Marco Hinojosa is the audience and engagement editor and may be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributors
Marco Hinojosa
Marco Hinojosa, Audience and Engagement
Marco Hinojosa is the audience and engagement editor for The Prospector. He is a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring multimedia journalism with a minor in criminal justice. He plans to broaden his horizons as a journalist and work for a major broadcast company.
Joel Molina
Joel Molina, Photo Editor
Joel is a graduate creative writing student at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is the photo editor who began his career at The Prospector in 2022. He hopes to continue providing the world and its people with different forms of storytelling that will hopefully make their day to day lives better.
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