Campus Reform | Prof. blames Thanksgiving on consumerism, suggests spirit of holiday is apologizing

Prof. blames Thanksgiving on consumerism, suggests spirit of holiday is apologizing

The modern portrayal of Thanksgiving is filled with historical inaccuracies based on a consumer culture, according to a professor at Portland State University.

Speaking at California State University at Fresno last week, Dr. Cornel Pewewardy gave a lecture to students titled “How the Grinch Stole Thanksgiving.” Pewewardy spoke about the historical and cultural implications of the holiday.

“Like other holidays, including Christmas and Columbus Day, Thanksgiving is not based on historical accuracy, but rather on the importance and prevalence of maintaining a consumer culture”, Pewewardy, who is a member of both the Comanche and Kiowa tribes, said on Tuesday.

According to The Collegian, CSU Fresno’s student paper, Pewewardy claimed that the holiday in its current form is a “manufacture Thanksgiving” that was born outside of any Native American Culture. He said Native Americans celebrate the holiday in their own unique way, choosing to indulge in prayer and song, instead of consuming massive Thanksgiving dinners.

Pewewardy suggested that the typical image of pilgrims and Native Americans dining together is merely a construct that is meant to reinforce extravagant consumer culture. He insisted that this image is a social construct, meant to distract from guilt from the extensive history of violence and suppression perpetrated upon the Native American people.

“There is truth in reconciliation, just like anything else,” Pewewardy said. “Sitting down with people and saying I’m sorry, that is the spirit of Thanksgiving.”

During the lecture, Pewewardy suggested that the public school system is to blame. Through his research, Pewewardy claimed, he found that the school system is currently reinforcing consumer culture, which is being both designed and driven by those who profit from the system.

Pewewardy serves as a professor and director of the indigenous nations studies program at PSU.

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