This year has been an expository experience. I have learned so many things just in this first semester. My interest and focus has been on learning about decolonization. I’ve learned truths that I was not previously privy to (even though everyone should know the truth about their nation and our government). I’ve learned about indigenous peoples and the genocide the occupiers committed against them upon arrival, and the continuing institutionalized racism against native peoples in policy and education in the United States government, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. So going back for “Thanksgiving” was confusing and frustrating – something it had not been for me before this year.
Here’s what I tried to do:
I like to try and be productive with my anger. I talked to my family about the Myths surrounding Thanksgiving. Here is a cool interactive web page that quickly teaches you about the myths surrounding the holiday. Luckily, my family was (for the most part) informed about this and agreed not to call the holiday “thanksgiving.” Instead we talked about how it has turned into a time for families to get together and be grateful for one another. We jokingly (or not so jokingly) started calling it “thanks-taking” which morphed into “just-taking.” Our goal was to highlight the falsities of the holiday while still allowing families be with one another and not feel too guilty about it. (Guilt is not a very effective motivator.) It was an effort to spread awareness even if just on a small scale right now.
I’m not sure if I’ll be having the traditional turkey dinner for much longer – I don’t eat it anyways, I’ve been vegetarian since I was nine. I think my family will start using the long weekend as a time for adventure and relaxation and spending time together.
I will continue to spread the truth about thanksgiving and the United States’ relationship with Native Nations.
And I call upon YOU to do the same. Let’s get loud and not let our government off the hook for the crimes we have committed.