The Native American perspective on Thanksgiving

NEW TOWN, N.D. - Thanksgiving brings some great holiday traditions, like cooking and spending time with family and friends, and sharing stories of when the pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock.

However, Native Americans bring a different perspective to the holiday due to inaccuracies in its history.

As journalists, we're taught to understand that there's two sides to every story. That holds true for Thanksgiving. So Native Americans on the Fort Berthold reservation say that it's often the true story of Thanksgiving that gets overlooked.

“The portrayal that's put out there on a national level in America in celebrating Thanksgiving, some people because it's portrayed that way may choose to say, 'well, I'm not going to celebrate it' at least not that way if at all,” said M.H.A. Tribal Chairman Mark Fox.

While quality of life got better for European settlers after their first interactions with Native Tribes in North America, the same cannot be said for their hosts.

Native populations were decimated by war and disease with Europeans.

“Thanksgiving is no longer a celebration of Pilgrims coming to this land and Plymouth and that time forward. Thanksgiving has taken on a different meaning now,” Fox said.

We spoke with other tribal residents who agree with Fox in saying they still gather with family to enjoy dinner and honor community and heritage, but they don't focus on the historical aspect of the holiday.

“Even though historically it comes from origins that were negative toward the indigenous population in North America, Thanksgiving has become in Indian country and to our tribe what it has become for the rest of America which is really a time to gather,” Fox said.

Encouraging people to stay mindful while enjoying their Turkey Day.