This is a day that many in America celebrate by gathering together with loved ones for a special meal.
But what are we celebrating exactly?
I grew up experiencing Thanksgiving as a day of excitement and connection. I loved having family gathered together, eating my favorite foods, and even opening early Christmas presents from my snowbird grandparents.
Only as an adult did I learn that this day is not one of celebration or thanks for all Americans. This holiday signifies grief and loss for many indigenous people who’ve faced centuries of genocide, discrimination, and oppression. Here are the voices of four Native Americans sharing some of their feelings about this complicated holiday.
Re-membering and reparation
I find myself contemplating how to honor and mourn the pain of others, support and work toward repairing equity for those who’ve been harmed, and celebrate the harvest in my own life today?
This reminds me of the inherent tension in paradox, and also the deep richness of compassion and healing that can happen when I’m willing to sit with the both/and. This is the power of re-membering – of bringing multiple and varied truths into the same space.
This article describes how the LANDBACK movement can contribute to reparation – “getting indigenous lands back in indigenous hands.”
In light of this remembering and repairing, I’m honoring this day by eating a meal lovingly prepared with my family quarantine pod, naming and learning more about the first inhabitants of the land my family lives on, making a donation to our local Native American Youth and Family Center, and soaking in every bit of joy, connection, and gratitude that I can.
In Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, Emily and Amelia Nagoski share a twist on the standard gratitude practice that gets at the heart of what matters for me.
They instruct us to, instead of giving thanks for what we have, practice gratitude for who you have and for how things happen.
This year I’m entering the holiday season feeling like I’ve been-through-some-shit. Maybe you are too? We worked. We stretched. We broke down. We found simple pleasures. We got up to do it all again. Even when it felt unbearable. Even when we were exhausted and the odds were bleak. We #persisted.
2020 was a dark night of the soul.
Here is a list of the who and how that I’m grateful for today:
- Chris, my best friend and partner in life, who sees me and knows me – all of me – like I’ve never experienced, and loves me more because of it.
- The three humans I get to share this journey with, who teach me more about myself and about life than any classroom or book ever could, who fill me with such joy, awe, and ridiculous laughter – I couldn’t have picked better ones for myself.
- My parents, who I’m insanely thankful to still have on earth, and who I genuinely love spending time with and miss incredibly much while they’re away half the year enjoying the sunshine.
- YOU – as you read this. You who bolster me and inspire me within this loving community of humans working on taking better care of our precious selves.
- The way that life has unfolded. That even in the most devastatingly dark and scary times, there have been comforts and moments of magic and reminders of the love that I believe is at the center of everything.
2020 Thanksgiving Reflection
What did Thanksgiving mean to you as a child?
What does Thanksgiving mean to you now?
How, if at all, are you honoring or celebrating this day?