It’s generally agreed upon knowledge that the “First Thanksgiving” — that fortuitous three-day harvest celebration from which we derive the modern holiday — is one of the few instances of a genuinely positive interaction between Native Americans and the European settlers who came in waves to their shores.
It’s unlikely that turkey was on the menu that year, and sweet potatoes hadn’t even made it to North America yet, but the settlers indulged in other bounties: Deer, pumpkin, succotash, cranberries — many of which were foreign to them.
Attendees played games and prayed with each other. And contrary to popular depiction, the local Wampanoag outnumbered their Pilgrim guests almost two to one.
It was a rare convergence of cultures, an exchange of food, resources, knowledge and company. We should keep that spirit alive at the table this year, too.
What followed was a series of atrocities, and descendants of those Native peoples still feel the ramifications today. But the holiday of Thanksgiving should be a reminder to every American of the kindness we are all capable of, even if sometimes it can be difficult to see.
This year, consider introducing more diverse meals and dishes. Who said Chinese pork buns or gefilte fish don’t pair with greens and mashed potatoes?
If possible, invite someone to your table with an intrinsic familiarity with these foods. After all, meals always taste better when they’ve been prepared by those who originated them.
And please, if you do opt to alter the menu this year, try to keep it authentic. The only thing worse than a lack of representation is misrepresentation.
One of the most incredible and unique assets our country claims is its diversity. Perhaps more than any other nation, America has a reputation for bringing in people from across the globe and stitching them into an ever-evolving fabric of cultures and beliefs.
That foundation should be reflected in our national holidays as well.
The Shorthorn Editorial Board is made up of opinion editor Jacob Reyes; Editor-in-Chief Reese Oxner; associate news editor Rocio Hernandez; multimedia editor Anna Geyer; Amanda Padilla, life and entertainment editor; news reporter David Silva and copy editor Andrew Walter.