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In recent years, African Americans have sought to redefine our relationship with Thanksgiving.
As we continue to push for a more honest accounting of the history of the United States, many have found it increasingly difficult to engage in traditions that boil down to a celebration of the colonization that ultimately had such a profound impact on people of color.
Granted, there is quite a bit of historical evidence that, in several regions, the initial relationship between European settlers and the native tribes was positive.
Still, we all know how the story went from there.
In some circles, the push has been to intentionally focus more on gratitude and family during Thanksgiving, ignoring the historical context ingrained in us since kindergarten.
But there may be an even better way to honor the original people of this land: By actually using Thanksgiving to learn about, celebrate and uplift the traditions and continuing legacy of Native Americans. This is particularly true for Ohioans, as we live with this legacy around us daily even at the most basic level: the names of our state and several cities and counties — including Mahoning — come directly from the language of this area’s earliest settlers.
Perhaps it's time for us to reframe Thanksgiving in the same way that the holiday formerly known as Columbus Day has been reclaimed.