Thanksgiving: A “Native American” View

As I prepare to spend this day surrounded by the people I love, I am reminded of the many blessings in my life.

Taking some time to count those blessings and celebrate the victories in life helps me to put things into perspective and find encouragement during challenging times. This is one of the ways I choose to observe the Thanksgiving holiday.

However, there is another commonly taught narrative surrounding the holiday that paints a particularly sunny picture of the relations between the European settlers and the Native people of the land that is now known as the United States of America.

This common narrative often ignores the mass genocide of  the native people and occupation of land which took place, the treaties that were broken, and the devastating residual effects in the form of inequity that still persist today.

While some would consider this a national day of thanks, others might consider it as a national day of mourning.

As a nation, I still think we shy away from acknowledging these truths, which only further serves to pick away at the scars of loss, marginalization, and inequity for the surviving group members of those who experienced the occupation.

A friend shared this video online and I’m just passing it along. It just offers another perspective on Thanksgiving.

“In America, history is something that we want to look back on and be proud of, and if it’s not, we don’t want to hear it. We erase it…If we’re striving for wholeness, justice, equity, It can only be gained on the basis of truth, the whole story.”Naomi Tutu

So, while enjoying this day with the people I love, I also think it’s important to take time to celebrate the people who were here first.

Grace & Peace,

From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins, MSW

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I'm a Social Worker, Educator, and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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2 Responses

  1. Mary Kiernan-Stern says:

    Thank you for this post, Relando. This was an important reflection to experience.
    All the best,
    Mary

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