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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:40 pm 
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I have problems with the basis of what Thanksgiving really is, but it's not what I normally associate with this holiday or what most people associate with it. People think of this as food, family, and football, if that is wrong or ignorant or just tradition or what. I dislike Thanksgiving for other reasons - namely, that I have to go to a huge extended family+people I don't know event where every single type of animal is dead on the table. I saw my parents last weekend and said I wish I could stay in the city and celebrate Thanksgiving with vegan friends. Big mistake. Big. Huge. Parents freaked out, bc this is all about family traditions, even if those traditions upset the fork out of me/you/someone.

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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 4:24 pm 
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torque wrote:
and it was invaluable for my daughter to realize that native americans are not just figures in the past. they're still here, albeit often under miserable circumstances. but i believe that mostly it's because the government neglects them since the general population figures that the native peoples are already gone. They're not.


Actually, torque, I think you've put your finger on what bothers me most about Thanksgiving, and more generally white America's take on issues facing tribal governments and Native Americans generally.

torque wrote:
i guess what my ramble is about is: there's proactive stuff to do. If you feel bad about the plight of native peoples, talk to people, explore your thoughts, find out what needs to be done. It might be as simple as influencing other people WRT language or attitudes, or something more involved like volunteering, writing letters to representatives, etc. You know, stuff vegans are supposed to be good at.


Yep, this. Also, I think Tim Wise is a great resource for white folks who are interested in working for racial justice, to dismantle white privilege and being anti-racist, generally. He's thought a lot about these issues, writes regularly and incisively, and has some really good insights. http://www.timwise.org


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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 4:31 pm 
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Lidwiz wrote:
I refuse to accept any guilt for what people did before I was born, so I look at Thanksgiving as a day to be thankful for what I have, eat good food, and spend time with good friends and/or family.


I understand the impulse to take this position and wash one's hands of responsibility, but the sad reality is that we as a nation continue to benefit from the oppression that folks before us visited upon indigenous nations in this country, and that that history continues to ravage Native American communities today, even if any of us (or even our families) did not ourselves personally participate in the genocide generations ago.

I wholeheartedly agree, though, that immobilization by white guilt is not the way to go. Be an anti-racist ally. Work for racial justice on issues affecting Native American communities. Acknowledge the history and work to change the future.


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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 8:00 pm 
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dandykins wrote:
...immobilization by white guilt is not the way to go. Be an anti-racist ally. Work for racial justice on issues affecting Native American communities. Acknowledge the history and work to change the future.

This, to my mind, is exactly the right attitude. Of course the past is past, but we need to acknowledge/interrogate/understand it in order to move forward in a more educated direction (to quote a rather annoyingly facile bromide: "when you know better, you do better"). Becoming paralyzed by guilt, or sucked into reactionary slacktivism ("I refuse to participate in Thanksgiving because I object to what it represents, so I'm going to spend my day off watching TV and sticking it to The Man by not eating dinner with my family") accomplishes nothing. There are ways to become involved and make a positive difference, and nowhere is it written that doing so precludes eating cranberry sauce!

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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 9:25 pm 
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If anything, it's a day to spend with family. (Which is cool if you like your family.) It also gets me psyched for the holiday season.


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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2010 9:45 pm 
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Desdemona wrote:
And please don't feel defensive; I didn't mean to jump on you.


Thanks, Desdemona.

dandykins wrote:
Yep, this. Also, I think Tim Wise is a great resource for white folks who are interested in working for racial justice, to dismantle white privilege and being anti-racist, generally. He's thought a lot about these issues, writes regularly and incisively, and has some really good insights. http://www.timwise.org


Tim Wise! Thanks for posting that. Here's another link to some of his writings: http://www.alternet.org/authors/4152/

He's got several speaking engagements in Wisconsin in 2011- I'm hoping to catch at least one.


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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 8:25 am 
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On this day, what a joy to find:

Quote of the Week
Indigenous Perspectives on Thanksgiving

"Giving daily thanks for nature's gifts has always been an important way of living for traditional Native peoples. The six nations of the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois (Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora), who live in New York State and parts of southeastern Canada, express their thanks in a recitation known as The Thanksgiving Address. Sometimes referred to as "the words that come before all else," this address is spoken at community gatherings, ceremonies, and even at some schools to start the day. The words express thanks for fellow human beings, Mother Earth, the moon, stars, sun, water, air, winds, animals, and more.

"Here is an excerpt that offers thanks for the food plants:

With one mind, we turn to honor and thank all the Food Plants we harvest from the garden. Since the beginning of time, the grains, vegetables, beans, and berries have helped the people survive. Many other living things draw strength from them, too. We gather all the Plant Foods together as one and send them a greeting of thanks.

-Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address

"American Indian peoples' connection to the natural world has been maintained through generations of observation, in which people developed environmental knowledge and philosophies. People took actions to ensure the long-term sustainability of their communities and the environment, with which they shared a reciprocal relationship. Today, Native knowledge can be a key to understanding and solving some of our world's most pressing problems."

-From American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving (PDF), an educational resource created by the National Museum of the American Indian

posted mostly as a reminder to myself to go explore what else the NMAI has to offer on their site, and maybe as a help to anyone else who's expressed interest in researching further learning/action/etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:57 am 
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Desdemona wrote:
Becoming paralyzed by guilt, or sucked into reactionary slacktivism ("I refuse to participate in Thanksgiving because I object to what it represents, so I'm going to spend my day off watching TV and sticking it to The Man by not eating dinner with my family") accomplishes nothing. There are ways to become involved and make a positive difference, and nowhere is it written that doing so precludes eating cranberry sauce!


I think this nails it for me. I realized last year that what makes me uncomfortable about Thanksgiving is that most people don't talk about or acknowledge the origins, and so when I was having Thanksgiving dinner with my extended family, or in last year's case, Danny's family, the reclaiming Thanksgiving thing was only in my own head.

This year, I get to spend Thanksgiving (Thanksvegan or Friendsgiving, really) with good friends who are all very much aware of where this holiday comes from, and who are making a conscious effort to make it about something better. There's a dialogue there, and I think that makes all the difference.

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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:26 am 
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I'm just realizing this year how different American Thanksgiving is from Canadian. It's not really a big deal here, atleast not where I'm from. Ours also aligns more with the harvest, so I always tend to think of it as a feast of the harvest. Going to read this thread and learn stuff now.

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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:44 am 
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paprikapapaya wrote:
I'm just realizing this year how different American Thanksgiving is from Canadian. It's not really a big deal here, atleast not where I'm from. Ours also aligns more with the harvest, so I always tend to think of it as a feast of the harvest. Going to read this thread and learn stuff now.


That's a beautiful thing! I like that sentiment, a holiday for giving thanks for the harvest.

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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 7:16 pm 
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torque wrote:
On this day, what a joy to find:

Quote of the Week
Indigenous Perspectives on Thanksgiving

"Giving daily thanks for nature's gifts has always been an important way of living for traditional Native peoples. The six nations of the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois (Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora), who live in New York State and parts of southeastern Canada, express their thanks in a recitation known as The Thanksgiving Address. Sometimes referred to as "the words that come before all else," this address is spoken at community gatherings, ceremonies, and even at some schools to start the day. The words express thanks for fellow human beings, Mother Earth, the moon, stars, sun, water, air, winds, animals, and more.

"Here is an excerpt that offers thanks for the food plants:

With one mind, we turn to honor and thank all the Food Plants we harvest from the garden. Since the beginning of time, the grains, vegetables, beans, and berries have helped the people survive. Many other living things draw strength from them, too. We gather all the Plant Foods together as one and send them a greeting of thanks.

-Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address

"American Indian peoples' connection to the natural world has been maintained through generations of observation, in which people developed environmental knowledge and philosophies. People took actions to ensure the long-term sustainability of their communities and the environment, with which they shared a reciprocal relationship. Today, Native knowledge can be a key to understanding and solving some of our world's most pressing problems."

-From American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving (PDF), an educational resource created by the National Museum of the American Indian

posted mostly as a reminder to myself to go explore what else the NMAI has to offer on their site, and maybe as a help to anyone else who's expressed interest in researching further learning/action/etc.


Thanks for posting this. I'm going to check it out, too.


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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 8:23 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 8:49 pm 
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I love celebrating Thanksgiving with my family, it wasn't always so easy though, because we had judgmental people mingled in. I love celebrating it with my mother's side of the family, they are waaay more fun. I also use it as an opportunity to make my vegetarian lasanga and other veggie dishes in order to educate them on healthier eating.

I always saw the holiday as a celebration of thanks for the harvest.

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