Decolonize Thanksgiving

I’ve been working on decolonizing my mind. It’s an ongoing process and one that will take a lifetime. That’s okay, as the place where I am in life took several lifetimes to attain.

I’m not likely to be around much to go into a lot of detail about colonialism, the harm it’s done and still does, and why I’m working on myself, but for those interested, I quietly got interested in it when I read about Landback.

In recent years, more and more states have replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day. This is part of what decolonizing is.

Christopher Columbus was hugely whitewashed when many of us learned about him in school, where we’re taught he was a hero.

This ‘hero’:

  • kidnapped and took Natives back to Europe with him to show off like animals
  • took women as slaves and gave at least one away to be raped
  • had men disfigured and humiliated women for criticizing him…One man caught stealing corn had his nose and ears cut off, was placed in shackles and was then auctioned off as a slave. A woman who dared to suggest that Columbus was of lowly birth was punished by his brother Bartolomé, who had also travelled to the Caribbean. She was stripped naked and paraded around the colony on the back of a mule.” Source

And that’s just for starters.

As more and more use a day that once honored him to honor the Native peoples that suffered so much because of him, there are a lot of people who struggle with Thanksgiving as well. Supposedly, the first Thanksgiving was given to commemorate a peace between early white settlers and Natives here in America, specially the Wampanoag.

But that’s a myth.

According to this piece in Time:

It was the Wampanoag in 1621 who helped the first wave of Puritans arriving on our shores, showing them how to plant crops, forage for wild foods and basically survive. The first official mention of a “Thanksgiving” celebration occurs in 1637, after the colonists brutally massacre an entire Pequot village, then subsequently celebrate their barbaric victory.

Time, Sean Sherman, November 2019 Link

Millions of Natives people died in the years since Europeans first settled here and America is built on stolen land.

It’s well past time we stop honoring unworthy people like Colubumbus.

And high time we listen to Native Americans about Thanksgiving.

Nalita Murray, a tiktok creator account I follow suggested renaming the day to Tribal Nations Day, still spending time with family and friends, but shifting the focus. You should watch the video. It’s a wonderful idea and I’m all for it.

I only saw the video today and I’m not really doing much cooking, but I think I’ll make the guy fry bread. His mom is Native Alaskan and that’s something she used to make for him when he was younger. I think it’s a common food among various Native peoples. Next year, I’ll look into doing more.

And…Happy Tribal Nations Day.