A couple of years ago we shared resources on why it may be worth re-thinking the way we celebrate Thanksgiving. This time of the year is often thought to be a moment when Indigenous people and European colonizers came together to eat a feast and share what they’re thankful for. However, this isn’t the full story (or true story)! This year we especially remember parts of the narrative that have been changed and eliminated altogether. As COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the United States, we can’t help but reflect on the fact that the very foundation of Thanksgiving is rooted in murder, stolen land, and the erasure of Indigenous people and their culture. Here’s a quote that perfectly captures our sentiment:
For what it’s worth, canceling our Thanksgiving celebrations to prevent the spread of COVID gives us a great opportunity to talk to our kids about how entering someone else’s home to intentionally spread a deadly disease is foundational to the holiday in the first place.— hodel in the streets, chava in the sheets (@mrotzie) November 12, 2020
As we continue to think of ways to decolonize celebrations and holidays in the United States, we’re also reflecting on the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities of color, especially Indigenous people and their communities. Many people across the board are vulnerable to the virus, have lost their job, or won’t have access to food and communal care like they have in the past. To this end, below are additional resources to remind us of what we can do in the coming week (and beyond).
Colonization and structural racism are foundational to many issues Indigenous communities face. While we can’t undo the harm that has been inflicted, we can begin (and hopefully continue) thinking of ways to support and stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples. This can look like expanding our knowledge, supporting local communities in the towns we live in, or purchasing items from indigenous owned businesses. Support Indigenous American communities
Don’t be afraid to tell your loved ones you’ll be staying in this year! Families are rethinking what gathering means and looks like for them. Many have decided to opt-out of in-person gatherings, and instead meet through virtual platforms, downsize their meals, drop off leftovers to family and friends, or participate in outdoor gatherings. Holiday in place.
When the pandemic first hit, restaurants and small businesses also took a hit. While some businesses are still sustaining themselves, it will be extremely helpful to close out the year by supporting the businesses in our neighborhood. Check out your local businesses to see what options are available to you. Here’s a list of black-owned restaurants to order from as well! Order food from local businesses.
Hunger is still a reality for many people in the United States. This time of the year makes it particularly hard for people who do not have close family or friends near, or the means and resources to eat the meal they want. Luckily, there are a few organizations and groups still working to provide meals for those who need it this year. Volunteer safely.
Whether you will be gathering virtually or in-person, the topic of politics may come up. We recognize how emotionally charged we can be when discussing issues related to our values, personal experiences, and policies that affect our lives. Take the time to think about who you’ll be discussing politics with and what you need to do to take care of yourself if and when the conversation comes up. Guide to talking politics at Thanksgiving