Professor celebrates Thanksgiving despite claiming its damaging to Native people

The professor says that the Thanksgiving story of 'Native people making friends with colonists and then bloodlessly granting their country to these newcomers' is a myth.

The story is also damaging for 'white kids because in sanitizing the bloodiness of colonial history, it doesn't allow them to understand where their privilege comes from,' the professor stated.

NPR’s podcast “Woke History”, hosted by Professor Joshua Wright of Trinity Washington University, aired an episode interviewing Professor David Silverman of George Washington University (GWU), the author of This Land is Their Land.

The purpose of his book is to expose the first Thanksgiving story of “Native people making friends with colonists and then bloodlessly granting their country to these newcomers” as a myth, Silverman explained.

[Related: EXCLUSIVE: University changes ‘Thanksgiving Closure’ to ‘Fall Break’]

The “second point of the book is to ask readers to reflect on the role this myth has played over the centuries in our society,” claiming that the story causes damage, especially for elementary students.

There is “damage done to indigenous people in the classroom,” Silverman stated. 

It’s also damaging for “white kids because in sanitizing the bloodiness of colonial history, it doesn't allow them to understand where their privilege comes from, it doesn’t allow them to think critically about this country’s origins, and in turn, it handicaps them from thinking about our present and our future," Silverman continued.

[Related: ‘Redefine it for yourself’: Editorial claims Thanksgiving is ‘forced upon’ students]

Wright added that football is a big part of Thanksgiving, sparking a discussion about team names such as the 'Redskins' and the 'Braves.'

Silverman told Wright that those names “caricature Native people, they misrepresent the Native past and they make many Native people today uncomfortable and invisible to the larger public. It does a great deal of damage. This is not just innocent fun.” 

But when Silverman was asked if he celebrates Thanksgiving, he responded that he does. 

All the parties in this story have been contacted for comment and the story will be updated accordingly.