How can I celebrate Thanksgiving when it is rooted in colonialism, conquest, and genocide?

Now, I’ll be honest. Hettie was stumped for awhile after hearing this question (and thus the tardiness of this post). After, hearing both our sides (David thinks celebrating Thanksgiving is a sin and Krista loves butter drenched stuffing too much to pass it up) she announced her stand. Read on:

She started on about something to do with frozen culture and Anthropology 101 and then about how cranberries are traditional pre-columbian food. But when she noticed the dazed look on my face she tried again.

“You see,” she said. “The beginnings of a thing only sometimes, or partly, determine its course.”

Culture – when its alive – isn’t static, but dynamic.

It grows and evolves… and repairs, mends, its course. So, she explained, it’s not so much about how something started as how it has evolved or is evolving. We are culture makers every minute of our lives! We mold and evolve culture by our thoughts and actions, by our intentions and our choices.

This Thanksgiving at Tierra Soul we slaughtered our first Turkey. We were humbled all over again as we watched the life drain from its body. We have now slaughtered 18 chickens and one turkey here on the Farm and we have started noticing something.

It feels good to know that we can handle death . . .

We haven’t completely lost our ability to be with death, to call in the presence and compassion it demands. For us, now that we are sitting down to eat flesh from our own land, Thanksgiving is taking on its own fresh course. It is about remembering the sacred ability to enter the cycle of life and death and be edified by the experience. This year we are grateful for this knowing.

So, take a few minutes right now to think about your Thanksgiving and ask yourself these three things:

  1. How is Thanksgiving NOW not about colonialism, conquest, and genocide?
  2. How are you re-creating Thanksgiving in your family and community?
  3. What can you add/change/let-go of in the future to make Thanksgiving about something new?

Post a comment. We’d love to hear your story! And as usual, keep sending Hettie you questions.

the Tierra Soul gang

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