Reflections on Thanksgiving
Today is Thanksgiving day, and although for many of us it has become associated with togetherness, gratitude, and celebration- it becomes our responsibility to question the history these associations have been built upon.
The history of Thanksgiving is traced back to the British colonial settlers and the Wampanoag tribe. The colonials were arriving with a lack of basic knowledge on how to survive in Nature, how to maintain themselves, and a host of sicknesses and ambitions for their “new” life. The Native people helped them acclimate and offered hospitality and support, and entered into peace treaties they considered sacred. This was met with deceit, greed, and violent conquest overtime, and today, Thanksgiving is considered a day of mourning for the Wampanoag.
From Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, to Black Friday the next day, the expression of Thanksgiving today has also become one of rampant consumerism and celebrating the products of the colonial terrorism waged on indigenous people, who in stark contrast lived maintaining a harmony with the Earth and in their communities for millennia longer than the Greco-Roman civilization has existed.
The power of the colonizer is in being able to shape our perceptions- where do our associations of this day come from? Who does it benefit to have us think that British colonization of what we call America was peaceful? What steps can we take to honor and acknowledge indigenous histories and knowledge today?