For most Americans, Thanksgiving is a time to spend with family and eat tons of food – but for some students at universities, it’s a time for them to lament what they perceive as the holiday’s darker past.

On Tuesday night, the University of Oregon Counseling Center hosted around 100 people at an event called: “Thanks But No Thanks-giving: Decolonizing an American Holiday” with a discussion led by the Native American Student Union.

“Genocide, poverty, hunger…what are you celebrating?” the event’s image asked.

While the main focus was on indigenous people, one person did sideline the discussion on Facebook by bringing up “consuming a cruelty-free meal” as the best way to show solidarity and saying “living vegan is a moral baseline.”

On Monday, before the event, the Campus Reform website asked U.O. students if they believe Thanksgiving is a “racist” holiday. One student said it is racist because “we’re celebrating taking away land from Natives,” while others agreed that there are issues but wouldn’t go as far as characterizing it as racist.


The University of Colorado Boulder’s Center for Democratic Engagement promoted a “Thanksgiving 2.0 #2018” toolkit on their website, giving students “talking points” focused on protesting pipelines and nixing mascots inspired by Native Americans.

“In a sense, colonization of North America is an ongoing occupation,” one of the papers argues, adding that NFL teams using Native American logos and names “furthers the idea that colonizers are above indigenous people as they utilize their higher positions to implement oppressive signs into society.”

“The materials are meant to prompt classroom discussions about Native American topics that may arise around Thanksgiving,” a UC Boulder spokesperson told Fox News.


But not every college campus decries a day of thanks. A student worker at a Massachusetts college got reprimanded after calling Thanksgiving a national day of mourning using the library’s social media account.

The McQuade Library account at Merrimack College shared an article on Facebook promoting a history professor’s toolkit to decolonize Thanksgiving by combatting racism in schools. The school deleted the post and called it an “inappropriate use of the account.”

St. Mary’s University professor Lindsey Passenger Wieck wrote in the now-deleted post: “Stereotypical and racist portrayals of Native peoples fill U.S. elementary schools each November as students encounter historically-inaccurate portrayals of Native peoples in arts & crafts, books and lessons about a shared Thanksgiving meal, and songs and plays with hand-crafted headdresses and vests.”

Merrimack’s spokesman, Jim Chiavelli, told Campus Reform the post “in no way represents the ethos of faith, family and freedom for which the college stands, nor our genuine appreciation for this most American of holidays.”