Among the people TIME interviewed for their piece on what public figures are thankful for is Chelsea Manning:
I’m usually hesitant to celebrate Thanksgiving Day. After all, the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony systematically terrorized and slaughtered the very same Pequot tribe that assisted the first English refugees to arrive at Plymouth Rock. So, perhaps ironically, I’m thankful that I know that, and I’m also thankful that there are people who seek out, and usually find, such truths. I’m thankful for people who, even surrounded by millions of Americans eating turkey during regularly scheduled commercial breaks in the Green Bay and Detroit football game; who, despite having been taught, often as early as five and six years old, that the “helpful natives” selflessly assisted the “poor helpless Pilgrims” and lived happily ever after, dare to ask probing, even dangerous, questions.
Given that she’s serving a 35-year prison sentence for releasing documents to WikiLeaks, that she is thankful for difficult questions and social justice pioneers (she names several who gave their lives in that pursuit) is both surprising and unsurprising.
It’s important to remember the context in which we celebrate this holiday and its problematic origins, but that doesn’t make it any less important to celebrate. Unlike Columbus Day (which has actually been renamed to Indigenous People’s Day in several places), the holiday isn’t about specific people with all of their issues. The holiday is about showing gratitude, which is a thing we should definitely be doing more than once a year, but it’s not a bad thing to be reminded to do it officially every once in a while.
What are you thankful for?