Charities

Why is Thanksgiving still controversial?

The atrocities against Native Americans did not end with the diseases or massacres mentioned above, so seeing people celebrating the "positive" myth around Thanksgiving can be frustrating and painful for many, especially Indigenous people. Combine that with the fact that some non-Natives choose to dress up in things like headdresses in "honor" of Thanksgiving, which many see as a mockery of sacred dress.

However, like all groups, Native Americans are not a monolith and have different perspectives on Thanksgiving. For example, some tribes view the holiday as a national day of mourning (shown above); they see it as the day settlers came to their land, spurring decades of violence and mistreatment.

"Thanksgiving day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native people, the theft of Native lands, and the relentless assault on Native culture," says the United American Indians of New England. They've marked the occasion as a day of mourning for 48 years, according to Native Hope. "Participants in National Day of Mourning honor Native ancestors and the struggles of Native peoples to survive today. It is a day of remembrance and spiritual connection as well as a protest of the racism and oppression which Native Americans continue to experience.”

 

How can we support Native Americans this holiday and every day?

There are a few different ways to begin, and continue, to uplift Native people and causes close to them, no matter how you feel about the holiday. For example: Seek out Native American authors, activists, artists, and chefs, and support in their work. Listen to and uplift their perspectives and make sure your support goes beyond Thanksgiving and holidays like Indigenous Peoples Day. Learn about causes that are still affecting Native people, such as healthcare, violence against women, and land disparities. Where the last point is concerned, you can find out the Indigenous history of the land you live on by using resources like native-land.ca.

Another simple thing you can do is steer the people in your life away from harmful stereotypes against Native Americans that might appear in your school curriculum, sporting events, or holiday decorations. You can read more about why this cultural appropriation and mockery is hurtful here.

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At Sunflowers and Seedlings we will be donating 100% of profits made on Nov 25th to MMIW - "Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women" at mmiwusa.org. Feel free to make a purchase through us or directly to them. If you screenshot your donation and send it to us, we will give you a 50% off discount on your next t-shirt purchase!