For many of us, the end of November is a time for visiting with family and dear friends, and thinking of the people and things that make us grateful. But often for the American Indian community, it’s different. For many of them, Thanksgiving is a holiday that ignores, and even celebrates, their history of suffering. Suffering that still reverberates today.
For example … did you know that just last May, two young Native men were run over by a white man allegedly shouting racial slurs? Or that Native People are being targeted by white supremacists and right-wing extremists—something we rarely see in the news.
At this moment of gratitude with loved ones, I want to ask you to pause and consider the American Indian experience.
As a starting point, please take a look at this month’s installment of Combating Extremism—and see some short but powerful reminders of American Indian Wisdom, Quotes and Prayers.
To successfully combat hate and ignorance, we must be proactive in learning about each other. Only by recognizing our cultural assumptions will we reduce the stereotypes and ‘othering’ that perpetuate hatred—including toward American Indians.
Joyce S. Dubensky
P.S. Since 1970, an organization known as Native Americans of New England has recognized Thanksgiving as their National Day of Mourning. To acknowledge the glaring omission of the American Indian narrative from our traditional Thanksgiving celebrations, the U.S. government made November Native American Heritage Month. And Black Friday is now also known as Native American Heritage Day.
P.P.S There are over 550 American Indian and Alaskan Native tribes in the U.S.
P.P.P.S. Speaking for myself, and everyone at Tanenbaum, we’re grateful for all of you. Thank you for being part of our community, and supporting our work.