As children, we were taught a very simple narrative surrounding Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims learned how to harvest food from Native Americans and they all celebrated together with a happy feast. It probably won’t come as a shock to learn that this history is incorrect. Despite helping the English colonizers, the Wampanoag people were attacked, and their land encroached on. Nowadays, Thanksgiving is seen as a time of mourning for many Native people. As it started a devastating path of inequality, violence and genocide.
Now, by no means am I trying to say that you can’t celebrate Thanksgiving with your loved ones. Spending time together with the people you love is always important. I am saying that we have to acknowledge a dark past and work to create a brighter future by doing better for Indigieous people in our communities and across the country. I’ll tell you a few ways to honor and give back to Indigenous people this Thanksgiving.
Firstly, learn the real history of the holiday, and the real history of colonization. There are plenty of resources online that can help you grow and learn. Even better, there are books written at an age-appropriate level for children to make sure they understand accurate history.
Secondly, stand with causes Native Americans care about, such as protecting ICWA and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) movement.
Thirdly, donate money and buy from Native-owned brands. With Black Friday coming up, I know you’re already planning to spend more this holiday season. Why not buy your holiday gifts from Native creators? There are a lot of brands online that you can support, and a lot of great causes to donate to. Share the wealth this Thanksgiving.
On Thanksgiving, enjoy your friends and family. Have fun eating, celebrating and laughing together. But make sure you leave room at the table for history.