I know people who delight in telling people the myths of Thanksgiving, e.g., those folks weren't Pilgrims, they didn't eat Turkey and cranberries at the first Thanksgiving, etc. etc. These people also lament the celebration of a holiday that (to them) marks the onset of the genocide at worst, displacement at best of an entire native population of people. These people are also pro-illegal immigration, but I haven't gotten the nerve to point out the hypocrisy. Maybe soon.
Anyway, here's my first argument: Not Pilgrims because they weren't called that until more than 150 years later? Ummm, that's splitting hairs, don't ya' think? The Native Americans didn't call themselves Native Americans either then (many still don't). Second argument about turkey and cranberries not at that celebration, but we eat it now. There weren't Easter baskets at the first Easter or a Santa Claus at the birth of Christ, but those are our traditions now. And if you want to get a bit more macabre, we Christians don't crucify a Jew for our Easter celebration either. Give it a rest about the Turkey and cranberries.
Here's the crux of my point though: There is no excuse for what the early and later European immigrants and their descendents, as well as our nation's leaders, did to the Native population. None. I'm not an apologist. But those early immigrants, who I will still call the Pilgrims, didn't come here to kill the natives. They came here to start a new life in a land in which they thought there might be opportunities to thrive as families and communities. Hey, does that sound a little like Mexican immigrants? If you think the Mexicans should be allowed to come on over without restrictions, what's your beef with the early European immigrants having done it?
But more important, the first Thanksgiving seems to me to be a celebration of life, of survival, and even cooperation between two disparate groups of people. Why in tarnation would we not want to continue that tradition of celebration?! For heaven's sake, it's THANKSGIVING! When I sit down with my family and eat Turkey and cranberry sauce, I am not condoning the genocide of the native population; I am following the example of a humble band of immigrants who survived an incredibly harsh winter and wanted to GIVE THANKS to their Father in heaven with a celebration feast. It's really just that simple.