22 November 2012
Much like Columbus Day, Thanksgiving is seen by some as a celebration of the conquest and genocide of Native Americans by European colonists. Professor Dan Brook of University of California at Berkeley condemns the 'cultural and political amnesia' of Americans who celebrate Thanksgiving, saying that 'We do not have to feel guilty, but we do need to feel something.' Professor Robert Jensen of the University of Texas at Austin is somewhat harsher, saying that 'One indication of moral progress in the United States would be the replacement of Thanksgiving Day and its self-indulgent family feasting with a National Day of Atonement accompanied by a self-reflective fasting.
Since 1970, the United American Indians of New England, a protest group led by Frank 'Wamsutta' James that has accused the United States and European settlers of fabricating the Thanksgiving story and whitewashing genocide and injustice against Indians, has led a National Day of Mourning protest on Thanksgiving at Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, MA, in the name of social equality.
Some Native Americans hold 'Unthanksgiving Day' celebrations in which they mourn the deaths of their ancestors, fast, dance, and pray. This tradition has been taking place since 1975.