Let’s remember the suffering that this holiday has caused for many indigenous people across the nation.
If your family is anything like mine, Thanksgiving is a time of the year to look forward to. Whether you’re a first generation American like myself, or have a long history of family here, Thanksgiving is viewed by many as a day where we can celebrate the beginning of American history.
But is America’s history truly something to celebrate? Growing up, I thought so. Like many of us, I was taught at a young age that the discovery of this country was a peaceful and collaborative process that celebrated the differences between the Native Americans who inhabited this land and the European settlers.
As I’ve gotten older and educated myself, I became aware of the brutal and tragic realities that the Indigenous Americans faced at the hands of settlers, and the pain and suffering that will be ever present and for generations to come. This “peaceful” history was nothing of the sort and I wished that the way that many of us are socialized as children to believe such a white-washed view of America’s history could change.
While we can’t change the past, we can certainly look toward more mindful celebration of the American holiday. Here are some ways in which we can observe Thanksgiving in a way that honors the battles that Indigenous people had to face at the time of the first Thanksgiving.
- Support Native-Owned Businesses
With Christmas around the corner, buying presents for your friends and family may already be on your radar. This Christmas, consider buying presents from Native-owned businesses in order to support families who are going through particularly troubling times with the holiday season. A few examples of these businesses include Sequoia Soaps, a proudly Indigenous brand that sells lotions, soaps, bath bombs, candles and more or Birchbark Books, for the people in your life who love to read.
- Try Some Native Recipes
There are countless recipes made by Indigenous chefs that you and your family can try out this Thanksgiving season in an effort to “decolonize your dinner table.”
- Donate to Native American Causes
Funds and organizations that support Native American liberation, rights and wellbeing are important causes to consider investing in. Any little bit counts! Some notable organizations include:
-Native American Rights Fund (NARF): This non-profit provides legal advocacy to Indigenous people who are suffering through the loss of many of their legal rights, such as voter suppression and discrimination.
-First Nations Covid-19 Response Fund: This fund has a mission to provide medical care through an emergency response fund to Native people who do not have access to proper care for life threatening viruses such as Covid-19. As a seriously at-risk population for lack of resources, Native American people are among the most in-need demographic for this type of medical care.
Celebrating Thanksgiving this year can be a time for you and your family to make a positive change in the lives of those who experience hardships and pain during this time of year. Supporting Native Americans in these ways can be beneficial for their communities and quality of life. Let’s make this Thanksgiving a mindful and supportive one as we honor the Indigenous tribes and the land that we are living on.