Image by Ts’uyya Farm
Today in the States it’s Thanksgiving. In my own home state of New Mexico, there are 23 tribes so I have a slight understanding about how fraught the holiday can be for Native peoples. While none of the tribes in my state are the Wampanoag from the Thanksgiving myth (to my knowledge), there is still an extensive history of trauma and genocide under the colonial and later United States governments. A trauma that continues to this day. It makes Thanksgiving more uncomfortable than it already is. Although to think of it, nothing is so Americana as a Trumpy uncle screaming about making America great again as Native lands are stolen and Native women are raped while a roast turkey sits on the table.
Sean Sherman of the Sioux Chef wrote an article for Time explaining his conplicated and evolving relationship with Thanksgiving. In it, he brings up a truely excellent point: Thanksgiving is made with indigenous foods like turkey, corn, beans, pumpkin, etc; perhaps it’s time to embrace those foods and step back from the Thanksgiving narrative.
Thanksgiving falls in the no-mans land between Samhain and Yule, and it’s an excellent time to reconnect to the land as the year spirals into winter. It’s also a time for shadow-work and reconciling our dark past and present actions, and paying for them.
While its probably a little late to change your Thanksgiving menus to support Native chefs (Thanksgiving at a restaurant anyone?) you can still buy their products, support their farmers, and donate to their efforts to reclaim their foodways.
Get inspiration for leftovers from The Fancy Navajo. Buy The Sioux Chefs Indigenous Kitchen or Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations (Lois Ellen Frank, Kiowa) or Original Local (Heid E Sherman, Ojibwe).
Support Native farmers like Ts’uyya Farm.
At this time, give thanks for what you have. And give back to people still suffering from trauma.