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Accepting The Truth About Thanksgiving Prompts Healing

Dan Berry – November 22, 2022

By the time I was in grade school I had become fully indoctrinated into the narrative that Thanksgiving somehow had its roots in fostering feelings of generosity and gratefulness.

In third grade, I remember writing a story, ironically, on a Big Chief writing tablet. The story was about how there was this beautiful, harmonious harvest celebration between the Pilgrims and Indians. Out of that celebration the modern day Thanksgiving holiday was born.  My teacher was so impressed that she had me read it to the entire class.

I may have articulated the narrative, aced my assignment, but the reality is my narrative was based more on fairy tale than the actual truth.  

Image: http://www.jenx67.com/2019/11/thanksgiving-1976.htmld

Don’t misunderstand me, I love that we can have a time where we reflect and offer heartfelt thankfulness and gratefulness for the gift of life and it’s blessings.  As we all had to learn that Santa Claus wasn’t real and move on to the real reason we celebrate Christmas, we all should take some time to learn the truth about what happened between Native Americans and the Pilgrims.

Our perception of Thanksgiving has been dominated by a narrative that is designed to gloss over actual events — events that would tarnish our nation to it’s core!

So this is my encouragement:

  1. Let’s live lives that are immersed in gratitude, even when things are tough, making sure we are always thankful to God and the wonderful neighbors that we have in our lives
  2. Don’t be afraid to learn the truth about what really happened in order for the United States to come into being.  Be willing to lament and allow the sorrow of truth to motivate you to foster the healing that is so needed.  For only then can we all really be free.

Dan Berry is the author of Navigating Diversity In Our Most Segregated Hour, a Certified Instructor for the What LIES Between Us and Confronting Whiteness courses, and advises individuals and organizations on how to take first steps toward racial healing through Bridge Building Solutions.

He has pastored for forty years in Iowa.  After pastoring in predominantly white spaces for several years, he began to realize the need to bring about racial healing in the body of Christ. For the last 30 years he has worked to bridge ethnic and cultural divides, a work that has led him into confronting the churches complicity in upholding systems of racism.

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