What bothers me about Thanksgiving isn’t what it says but what it doesn’t say.

I’m 100 percent in favor of giving thanks and having gratitude in our daily lives. But the story usually doesn’t mention that the colonizers would not have survived without the generosity of the Natives they found here.

The story also does not mention what happened to all those Native people after the “first Thanksgiving.” We know what happened to the Natives, but we don’t want to acknowledge it.

It belies the reality of the founding of our nation, which is that it was founded on the premise of empty land ripe for the taking, and the genocide of the people of the First Nations who got in the way of that “manifest destiny.” How would our national story change if, in the same breath as giving thanks, we also told this true story that lies in our subconscious?

And let’s not relegate these genocidal actions to the past. As we’ve learned from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission led by the Wabanaki here in Maine, Native children are still five times more likely than non-Native children to be in foster care – this has a historic legacy.

The Wabanaki nations are still embroiled in legal battles with the state of Maine over attempts at territorial taking and environmental standards that support the Penobscot Nation way of life.

So, let’s give thanks that we have each other, and let’s continue to recognize that our having is, has always been and continues to be based on the result of taking from others.

Let’s recognize that myths and stories, like the Thanksgiving story, create a national narrative that supports the continuation of mass extinction and injustice around the world. Let’s work together to make these connections and speak up about it.

Dan Marks

Portland