Native Americans reveal how they feel about Thanksgiving branding Columbus 'the first terrorist in America'

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native-american-indian.jpgThe celebration of Thanksgiving may be a beloved tradition, but one group of Native Americans has revealed what the holiday really means to them in a moving video series that dispels the historical inaccuracies and stereotypes associated with their culture.

As part of's One Word video series, a group of men and women from the Native American community have shared their thoughts on the words: Thanksgiving, Christopher Columbus, reservation and redskins.

And while many of the men and women agree that the 'redskins' is an 'offensive' and 'racist' term, the group shared different opinions about what it means to celebrate Thanksgiving as a Native American.

Columbus, however, the reactions were across-the-board negative. Some branded the Italian explorer 'pure evil' or 'a murderer' and even 'the first terrorist in America'.

Some uttered expletives or raised their middle fingers in response to the man's name.

'It always was weird to me to have that day off in celebration of somebody, like, we don't have a day for Hitler, but it's the same thing,' said one man.

Others seemed simply bewildered at why he's considered an important figure in history at all, given he 'didn't discover anything, and instead got lost'.

The reactions to the word 'redskin' were similarly negative, save for one woman who declared she was 'proud' to call herself a redskin.

'Derogatory', 'racist' and 'offensive' were the most common responses to the word, with many comparing it to the n-word or various other racist terms used to belittle people of certain races.

Some told the disturbing story behind the word.

'Redskin is interesting, because we call ourselves the cinnamon people, but redskin turned very ugly,' explained one woman. 'It was settlers collecting basically scalps and skins of Indians.'

The participants' reaction to the idea of Thanksgiving in another one of the videos was much more mixed, including quick word associations with everything from 'inaccurate' to 'slaughter'.

'Ugh, lies,' said one man, simply.

'Sadness. Total sadness,' said another. 'Thanksgiving is a time when my family gets together and tells stories about our creation myths and who we were and who we are and really what we lost.'

'Turkey and white pilgrims,' added one man. 'I don't know what the first Thanksgiving was, but I highly doubt it was a group of happy Pilgrims and a group of happy Indians cooking turkey together.'

For many, the feelings themselves were mixed, as they enjoyed celebrating the 'overall idea' of Thanksgiving, but 'not where it actually comes from'.

'I don't really celebrate the holiday for what it actually is, more of like just getting to have family over and eat,' said one interviewee.

'Thanksgiving to me just means a day of football and good eating - and trying not to think about what it really represents,' echoed another.

However, some glossed over the negativity, with three women in a row in the clip saying they associate Thanksgiving with 'family'.

Others were all negative, with some even becoming riled up over the idea.

'It was a massacre. Puritans came and slaughtered them,' one man explained. They didn't want to eat with a savage. They slaughtered millions of us. I don't know why they call themselves Puritans.'

Another video from the series sees the same interviewees respond to the word 'reservation', which had many of the men and women become emotional.

One man described the word as synonymous to 'damnation' while others compared it to 'prison' or 'concentration camp'.

'There are no good reservations,' added one woman, who herself grew up on a Navajo reservation. 'We were one of the few lucky peoples that got to remain where our homelands are, but there are other reservations where people were forced there, and they can't fend for themselves like they used to in the old days. You can't hunt anymore, you can't fish anymore.

'You're just stuck on this reservation with substandard housing, living in third country conditions. Youths killing themselves because there is no future, no hope!' she added, tearing up. 'That's a reservation to me.'