Why Some Native Americans Can Laugh About Thanksgiving

"I kept wondering why the air was so weird," he said. "And finally it donned on me that they were all thinking about the First Thanksgiving."

The 1491s also uses their platforms to circulate depictions of Native Americans they find offensive during Halloween and Thanksgiving, especially. Most recently, the group posted a flier on their Facebook page for a Thanksgiving Happy Hour at a bar in Washington, D.C., that reads, "PARTY LIKE A PILGRIM, DRINK LIKE AN INDIAN" with a cartoon of a Native American and Pilgrim jumping in the air. The bar was inundated with angry comments on their Facebook page, and the poster has since been removed from their website and Facebook page.

At its most basic level, the Thanksgiving holiday falls in line with a core belief in many Native American communities that giving thanks is something worth doing all of the time. That's why some find it odd that the concept is celebrated just one day a year by most Americans. Mt. Pleasant, for example, whose father is Tuscarora, one of the six nations of the Haudenosaunee, says that "thankfulness is a guiding principle for Haudenosaunee people."

"When I think of the Thanksgiving holiday, one of the things I think about is the important differences between the way Haudenosaunee people embrace thankfulness versus the ways American society at large addresses this concept," she said.

Harjo, who goes over to white friends' houses on Thanksgiving, also has mixed feelings about the holiday.

"Because we're Indian, we give thanks every day, not just one day a year," he said. "But white people sure do cook some good food," he joked.

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