4 Ways To Decolonize Thanksgiving

Stories told about the first Thanksgiving often perpetuate harmful stereotypes and racism. It is important to set the record straight, acknowledge Native Peoples, debunk myths, and show Native Americans as contemporary people with dynamic thriving cultures. November is National Native American Heritage Month and offers many opportunities to move past one-dimensional representations.  Thanksgiving is an opportinity to also go beyond the harmful “pilgrims and Indians” narrative and focus on common values:  generosity, gratitude, and community.
1. Learn the Real History. 
Thanksgiving, like Columbus Day, serves as a reminder of the genocide and violence Native communities experienced and continue to experience.  Learn about Thanksgiving and early colonial history from Native perspectives.
2. Decolonize Your Dinner.
Native chefs have created a culinary movement with the goal of getting Indigenous people to honor their ancestors through their dietary choices. Bring Native American dishes to the dinner table.

Sean Sherman’s 10 Essential Native American Recipes

3. Listen to Indigenous Voices.
It was the Wampanoag People, the People of the First Light,  that encountered the Pilgrims when they arrived in Turtle Island from Europe in 1620. Since 1863, Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a national holiday in the United States, mythologizing the violent events that followed European arrival into a story of friendship and mutual sharing. But the reality is that the Wampanoags’ generosity was met with genocide, and this truth has been systematically suppressed in the US education system, government, and popular culture. Listen to an interview with Cedric Cromwell, the Tribal Council Chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Nation.
4. Celebrate Native People.
Watch and Share MTV World’s Rebel Music: Native America
Finally, mainstream media is focusing on the amazing Native talent Indian County has to offer.  Check out these talented artists: Frank Waln, Nataanii Means, Mike Clifford, and Inez Jasper.
Rebel Music offers Common Core-based curriculum. Share it with the teachers in your life! 
Read The Works of Native Authors
For many years, Native people were silenced and their stories were marginalized. That’s why it’s especially important to read stories about Native characters, told in Native voices. Celebrate Native American Heritage Month with these great books by Native writers.