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Foreign students should love Thanksgiving

Given an incredible opportunity to live in America, they should be thankful every day

Foreign college students should be the biggest supporters of Thanksgiving, yet some are unfairly critical of the holiday and America in general.

Thanksgiving after all is a foreign holiday, in the sense that it was foreigners who celebrated their safe arrival here in the United States, whether you choose 1565 as the year of the first celebration or 1621.

Yet Mubina Fareed at the University of Minnesota writes, “Recognizing injustices, such as land theft and murder, demands a reconsideration of the holiday’s placement.”

“Shifting the focus to acknowledge Native American Heritage Month or contemplating an alternative time for Thanksgiving could be a step towards acknowledging the painful past and current struggles of Indigenous communities,” Fareed writes. Her family is Muslim and from India.

Fellow Indian student Neil Srinath wrote last year, “if you choose to celebrate, acknowledge the myth of Thanksgiving and the remaining impacts of colonialism and Indigenous genocide that the story serves to whitewash.”

The University of Connecticut student said people should refuse to “perpetuate the narrative of colonialism.” One of his reasons is that a peace treaty lasted 50 years but eventually fell apart and led to King Philip’s War.

“It is clear that the supposed exchange of gratitude from the settlers was nothing more than a pretext to establish the roots of their colonial project. This colonial project was predetermined and would be achieved through whatever violent means necessary,” Srinath wrote.

This is bogus – the 50 or so people we call “Pilgrims” were not looking 50 years into the future and waiting that long just to further their colony, particularly given the treacherous nature of being a colonist in a new land.

Two years ago, an Iraqi student and a Turkish student both criticized the “colonization and genocide of Indigenous peoples.”

Americans “are trying to ignore the fact that this nation was built on savagery and it came to life by slaughter. It was built on slavery and genocide and ethnic cleansing,” Iraqi student Zaid Al Attar told The Daily Barometer, the campus newspaper for Oregon State University.

The Kurds could not be reached for comment.

“Alihan Baysal, a computer science major from Turkey, said he thinks it would be wise to now change the holiday of Thanksgiving,” the student newspaper reported.

The Armenians could also not be reached for comment.

Thanksgiving is a celebration of an imperfect history of an imperfect country, but it is a good nation even with faults.

Foreign students are either here on their own volition or because their parents or grandparents left their own country for better opportunity, just like the Pilgrims or Spaniards. They should give thanksgiving for their opportunity.

MORE: I’m a descendant of the early colonists and proud to celebrate Thanksgiving

IMAGE: Jean Leon Gerome Ferris/Wikimedia Commons

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.