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Senator Tom Cotton of Arizona, let loose in a statement on the floor of congress yesterday evening, reaffirming the historical significance of Thanksgiving as part of the nation’s past—and sharply criticizing the efforts of the New York Times to suggest that the holiday and its origins were in some manner fictitious.
Cotton didn’t mince his words on this 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving.
“The New York Times called the [pilgrim’s] story a myth and a caricature. In the food section no less,” Cotton said.
“Maybe the politically correct editors of the debunked 1619 Project are now responsible for pumpkin pie recipes at the Times as well.”
His statements were made in reference to a New York Times article entitled, “The Thanksgiving Myth Gets a Deeper Look This Year,” which was indeed published as a part of the publication’s food section. It’s about buffalo hunting, and describes the plight of racial inequality through the lens of Thanksgiving.
The article quotes Linda Coombs, a Wampanoag historian and member of the Aquinnah Tribe who suggested that the thanksgiving story was a narrative Americans fabricated to ease a sense of cultural guilt.
“There was an event that happened in 1621,” Coombs said. “But the whole story about what occurred on that first Thanksgiving was a myth created to make white people feel comfortable.”
The article’s author, Brett Anderson, seems to back up Coombs’ claims. His contention is that the remembrance of the Thanksgiving story, is a misrepresentation of the tragic and harsh reality of relations between settlers and Indians—one that would lead to their eventual disappearance.
“These stories were among the few appearances made by Native Americans in popular historical narratives, effectively erasing history-altering crimes, like the killing of tens of millions of buffalo, from the country’s consciousness,” Brett said. “That massacre led to the mass starvation of Indigenous people.”
Moreover, Brett suggested that the origins of the national holiday, the iconic meeting between Native Americans and the Pilgrims, was little more than a myth—one that was now widely recognized as inaccurate.
Senator Cotton made sure viewers understood he was not of a similar persuasion.
“I for one, still have the pride and confidence of our forbearers. So here today I speak in the spirit of that cabin and I re-affirm that old compact. As we head into the week of Thanksgiving, I’ll be giving thanks this year in particular to our Pilgrim fathers and the timeless lessons that they bequeathed to our great nation,” Cotton said.