A Decolonized Thanksgiving
A free writing exercise turned into the critique on the holiday of Thanksgiving
By Alex Jimerson
The third Thursday in November. The day after the biggest party night in the country but before the day we relinquish the family, friends, health and well-being we are thankful for, door-busting deals to plug us back into our consumer livelihood. Its congruent to say our sustenance no longer lies in what we harvest from the earth we walk upon, but the gadgets and material items we feel the need to possess.
A day in which highlights the generosity of the Wampanoag. Original inhabitants of the land and shores the pilgrims crashed their Mayflower upon. To share and celebrate those in what sustain our well-being, a partnership established only to be damaged by an abuser. The colonizer. The People of the Turtle Island mourn as the thanksgiving feast continues on in an abusive relationship. We have endured the explosion only to see the honeymoon phase come in romanticized terms of “reconciliation” and limited “self-determination”. It’s a struggle each of our past 7 generations have inherited. But resistance is built in our DNA. We are of earth and sky; of the creative mystery we yearn to acknowledge in thankfulness.
But, before you clap for Snoopy on Thursday being paraded down the middle of Manhattan on once a Lenape trail. Let me remind you that everyday is thanksgiving. I’ve been reminded of it every day of my life. Our thanksgiving address, the words that come before all else are eloquently spoken before a gathering such as we are now. Acknowledges responsibility and pays respect to protect all of the energy and life around us, from our mother earth we walk upon, to the Maple, the leader among the trees which provides us sugar in the second moon of our new year.
Responsibility to continue our assignment as protectors never dissolves from the corporations that look to commodify and exploit creation. Excuse me if I sound a bit like Wednesday Addams in my rendition of thanksgiving amongst the breaking of bread, donning of cardigan sweaters and toasts to highballs. If I disrupt your festive mood, so be it. It’s not my assignment to coddle you as you come to terms with your colonial privilege. Or how you inherently benefit from colonial systems. So marinade in the discomfort long after my last words suck the air out of this classroom.
Let this silence jog your memory when you see a native mascot, when you see a hipster donning a headdress. When you see the extraction of minerals and resources from native lands to feed the colonial gluttonous system.
Until then I’ll continue on my assignment to walk this path in a good way with creation. As best I can. I and the faces unborn encourage you to join.