Plymouth, Massachusetts in the fall of 1621 was a time for celebration between two peoples – Native Americans and Pilgrim settlers. 90 Native Americans and the remaining 50 European settlers who had made it through the winter came together in a show of unity to break bread and share in the harvest, an occasion we now commemorate with the holiday of Thanksgiving.
Nowadays, contention and controversy swirls around the holiday – the commercialization of an event associated with the slaughter of indigenous peoples. Historically, the holiday has always brought out the worst in people. It started with genocide, and has evolved into ugly family squabbles. With it’s maturation into a holiday where we are forced into the relentless company of blood relatives, it’s an event that still makes us want to kill each other. But in our contemporary, PC culture that shit doesn’t fly. The Pilgrims actually did it.
How do we now right this wrong and celebrate Thanksgiving in a respectful and inclusive way?
You can do it in small ways, like driving to the closest Native American reservation and telling a resident to hop in your car. Invite them to your table and after the meal, if he or she wants to sleep in your bed, move into your home and paste their faces over your family photos, then you let them. Listen, if you’re not doing this, then I’m not saying you’re a part of the problem, but you’re definitely not a part of the solution. I’ve been doing this for the past three years and haven’t been turned down on my offer yet.
If you can’t do the small things, like give up precious family heirlooms and write a complete stranger into your will, then how are we supposed to make any progress on social justice issues? Talk is one thing, but it’s time for action.
And let’s be real. Thanksgiving in your home is great and all. But for a more authentic Thanksgiving experience, you should be enjoying your turkey in a homeless shelter with complete strangers suffering from frostbite, just like the pilgrims of old.