Washington State University hosts speaker who says Thanksgiving is full of stereotypes of indigenous people

WSU hosted speaker who is calling Thanksgiving a holiday that needs to be decolonized.

The speaker says that the holiday is full of stereotypes aimed at indigenous people.

A professor of Indigenous Nations Studies who spoke at Washington State University said that Thanksgiving is full of stereotypes aimed at indigenous people.

According to the Daily Evergreen, on Nov. 10, Washington State University hosted Portland State University Professor of Indigenous Nations Studies Cornel Pewewardy, who spoke on Thanksgiving and the views of Indigenous people surrounding it. 

Pewewardy discussed Thanksgiving being a holiday that is not celebrating a harvest shared by pilgrims and Native Americans, but a disturbing commercialization of it. 

Pewewardy suggested the holiday should be decolonized. 

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According to the Daily Evergreen, Pewewardy led the conversation by saying that Thanksgiving had become a holiday that is full of stereotypes aimed at indigenous people.

He also stated that young school-aged children have been told the Thanksgiving lie when they dress up as Native Americans. He said this objectifies those who are indigenous as well as their cultures, adding that the behavior of Halloween is similar in that way.

 Pewewardy presented eight steps in which settler colonialism occurs. 

He said that the first several steps occur when indigenous land is stolen, when children are taken, and when religion and language are compromised. He then described the fifth step, which supposedly occurs when the way in which indigenous people learn is taken away. The sixth step, he said, involves the sovereignty of Indigenous people, the seventh is rewriting history, and the last step is described as the assimilation of indigenous people. 

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Washington State University Native Student Services Director Steve Martin told the student newspaper that Pewewardy’s research seeks to help make progress.

Pewewardy and Washington State University did not respond to any of Campus Reform’s requests for comment.

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