As a brand whose goal is to honor and support small collectives, women-owned businesses, global and local artisans and Indigenous Peoples and cultures, I find it important and appropriate to direct this post towards what the day of Thanksgiving actually is. I encourage you to join me in learning more, if you aren't already aware, and rejecting the widely held but false belief that the interactions among Indigenous Peoples and Pilgrims were a communal feast, instead of a genocide of the Indigenous Peoples by the Pilgrims.
What I was incorrectly taught back in school, and what a lot of children are still learning, was that Thanksgiving commemorates a shared meal between Wampanoag Native Americans and the Pilgrims. In fact, Thanksgiving was established during the Civil War. While that myth has led us to a day of togetherness, thankfulness and celebration (which are all good!), what we are doing is blatantly masking the truth of what really happened, its aftermath and who is still suffering as a result.
Let's learn about it, talk about it and adjust our focus.
Native Peoples are still here, still living their cultures and still defending their lands with their lives. In our gratitude and self-education, we can take steps toward justice by supporting Indigenous-led organizations and enlightening ourselves - and others - about the truth concerning those whose land we are living on.
Studying this history is a process, and comprehending it is its own challenge. By no means am I telling myself, nor asking you, to cancel your holiday gathering or throw your turkey out the window. Instead, as I give special thanks today for the ones who I love and all that I have, I realize I must also take action to work towards justice for those for whom this day represents a violent past. With our power and our voices, we can make a difference.
The following resources have helped me in my own self-education journey, and I encourage you to read them and create opportunities to discuss them with others. I welcome emails to continue the conversation.
Why Thanksgiving is a 'National Day of Mourning' for Some Americans
Thanksgiving: A Day of Mourning
6 Thanksgiving Myths and the Wampanoag Side of the Story
Most Everything You Learned About Thanksgiving Is Wrong
The Future is Indigenous: Decolonizing Thanksgiving
Cultural Survival is a nonprofit organization based in Cambridge, MA that's committed to defending and sustaining the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Click here to support them directly. AND on Giving Tuesday, 11/28, your donation will be matched.