The real story of Thanksgiving


by Jenna Prather, Staff Reporter

Simpson welcomed back a tradition this year to teach students about the true meaning of Thanksgiving.

The Native American and Intertribal Student Association (NAISA), with the support of the International Student Organization (ISO), will host a Thanksgiving history event in Hubbell Hall on Nov. 18. The event will feature free food and an opportunity for students to learn more about the real history of Thanksgiving.

“We’re going to serve all kinds of Thanksgiving food, have the campus community together and talk a little bit about the true meanings behind Thanksgiving,” senior Noah Trujillo, co-president of NAISA, said.

The event’s main goal is to educate the campus community on Indigenous issues and Native and Indigenous heritage. 

This is not the first event of its kind. In years past, with the exception of last year, other student organizations have held a multicultural Thanksgiving.  

Walter Lain, Assistant Dean of Multicultural and International Affairs, has been hosting the campus’ educational Thanksgiving dinner events for almost two decades and is an advisor of NAISA alongside Department Chair of Sociology and Criminal Justice and Professor of Social Work & Criminal Justice Carolyn Dallinger. 

“For many years, a similar event has been sponsored through the international student organization or the multicultural student organization. I thought it was just fitting to have NAISA do it this year because when we are reminded about the reason why we have Thanksgiving, it is to celebrate the history of the United States’ relationship with Native Americans,” Lain said.

Though Thanksgiving has a history of being misremembered or mistaught, Lain says it is one of his favorite holidays and sees it as an opportunity for students to learn the real reason for the holiday.

“We get together with family and others to be able to give thanks,” Lain said. “So, helping educate the campus community about thankfulness and our debt of gratitude to the Indigenous people and what they have provided. For the bounties, the land, the environment, all these things that we have benefited from earlier settlers to this place we call Iowa.”

Iowa is the traditional homeland of approximately 17 different tribes, including the Ioway, Sauk, Meskwaki, Dakota, Potawatomi, Oto and Missouri.

On Monday, Nov. 22, NAISA will be hosting Meskwaki Cultural Preservation chair, Stephanie Snow, over Zoom for a lecture about the Meskwaki tribe and their heritage for Native American Heritage Month.

NAISA isn’t just for Indigenous people either. A relatively new group, it was founded almost two years ago. Like the other multicultural groups on campus, NAISA strives to educate the public about this culture and encourage others to do so.