Thanksgiving also offers us a place to explore different meanings and perspectives on celebrating gratitude. Here are some excellent resources from a mailing list to which I belong.
Reckoning with Myths and Violence
- What Really Happened at the First Thanksgiving? The Wampanoag Side of the Tale
- The Myths of the Thanksgiving Story
Awakening to the Realities of Indigenous People
- Read about history of church-run "boarding schools," written by N&N NYC organizer Gina Ciliberto. Join the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition as an ally.
- Read M. Karlos Baca’s poetic and powerful reflection on Indigenous relationships to food and land, and how it is being reclaimed today.
“To recognize that we are here, that the seeds of our matriarchs, carried woven into hair and hem, have been prayed over, honored and placed back into the womb of our earth mother and accepted water offering, is the most poetic and just testament to Indigenous resilience.
To be sure, the colonial narrative of Thanksgiving is a lie, but just as our oral traditions and histories are there for us to reclaim, we can’t forget the communal power and personal obligation to rewrite this ceremony through our sacred, lineal commitments to food.”
Committing to a New Story
Supporting Indigenous sovereignty means supporting lifeways that honor the land, waters, and more-than-human world. More than challenge the myth, find an action that can help a story of healing and sovereignty unfold.
- Participate in existing “Voluntary Land Taxes” to the Native nations where you live. The Shuumi land tax (Bay Area, CA), Real Rent Duwamish (Seattle), and the Honor Native Land Tax (New Mexico) are great examples. Alternatively, donate to an Indigenous group or organization in your area. *Props to the NYC N&N group,* who organized support for the Manna-hatta Fund. If you live on Lenape land, you can take part in their efforts by donating here then filling out this anonymous form.
- Support and join Indigenous-led efforts for climate justice. Learn about specific efforts where you live, or support national efforts like dropping charges against Line 3 water protectors or following organizations like NDN Collective and Indigenous Climate Network.
- Support Real Land Rematriation! Our friends at Agrarian Trust and an Indigenous collective are raising funds to acquire a 64-acre farm within the ancestral homelands of Nipmuc and Massachusett People — with the vision of revitalizing traditional foodways and earth-centered stewardship. Donate to this amazing project-of-possibilities (*password to page is AT1234), and encourage friends to do the same!
- In Case You Missed It: Check out this collaboration between the Shinnecock Kelp Farmers and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood, NY. The sisters’ coastal retreat center property is now also home to this Indigenous woman-led cooperative, kelp hatchery, and regenerative ocean farm.