Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples

Let’s Re-Think Thanksgiving

Dry Corn

Dear Friends,

Those of us who are not Native have much to learn from Native peoples about gratitude. As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, consider sharing the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address at your gatherings. The Haudenosaunee (also known as the Iroquois Confederacy or Six Nations — Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora)  open and close every social and religious meeting with the Thanksgiving Address. It is also said as a daily sunrise prayer and is an ancient message of peace and appreciation of Mother Earth and all her inhabitants.     

There are many online resources for debunking the myths surrounding Thanksgiving (look for ones written by Native people). The Indigenous people who were living on the lands invaded by the “pilgrims” are the Wampanoag. Here’s an interview with Ramona Peters, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Cultural Preservation Officer, about how the Wampanoag people think about the Thanksgiving myth: 

Other resources to explore:

Alison Cagle, Celebrate Indigenous History This Thanksgiving: Here’s how to authentically honor the holiday. Sierra Magazine, 2018

Cultural Survival,  8 WAYS TO DECOLONIZE AND HONOR NATIVE PEOPLES ON THANKSGIVING

Teaching Tolerance, Teaching Thanksgiving in a Socially Responsible Way

Alexis Buntin, Bioneers, Three Ways to Decolonize Thanksgiving

United American Indians of New England, The Suppressed Speech of Wamsutta (Frank B.) James, Wampanoag