Dine Not on Cultural or Historical Amnesia…

…but do try to partake in fun dining ventures with the ones you love (and, of course, with those your loved ones might force you to interact with—it’s tradition).

The Thanksgiving holiday and I don’t quite see eye-to-eye. Perhaps, it would be more accurate to say that I can’t help baring my teeth around the reason that most people in North America attach to the celebration of the holiday: the “first Thanksgiving” or the meal shared between Pilgrims and Native Americans in the autumn of 1620.

No, I haven’t forgotten the 1863 bit about Abraham Lincoln’s “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens” (which, by the way, brings up other troubling issues for those Americans who don’t quite see eye-to-eye with said “beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”. But that’s another post).

I know there are many reasons to be thankful for every day of our lives. Why not make the last Thursday of November a special day for it, right? Well, because I feel that if we continue to pour delicious gravy and cranberry sauce on a spoilt turkey, it is possible that in time our children will blindly consume the bad fowl, and never understand why their tummies hurt so much… or why their eating fills other people’s mouths with bile.  

Am I saying that we should boycott Thanksgiving? Certainly not; that would be a terrible thing to even think about—so many people find solace on this celebration. By all means, let’s party and share a good meal with those we love, but let’s dine not on cultural or historical amnesia.

Before we take the first bite, let’s remember (and profusely thank) the people who opened their table to strangers… the people who taught those strangers to farm the land so that their children wouldn’t starve to death in a new world… the people who lost almost everything to the strangers they welcomed to their food and land.

Our children should know that the first people deserve respect; and that we wish, with all our hearts, for them to never become anything like the strangers.


I wasn’t going to share the following, today, but what’s Thanksgiving without the mildly terrible delights of cough-inducing satire? So here is a “Thanksgiving Haiku”:

Thanksgiving banquet:
eat, dear guests, we have enough;
friends don’t kill for food. 

29 comments:

  1. A nice post...
    Happy Thanks Giving...
    And thanks for sharing this!

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  2. "By all means, let’s party and share a good meal with those we love, but let’s dine not on cultural or historical amnesia."

    Eloquently put! :)



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    1. In this case, we should have our cake and the remembrance, too.

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  3. Most excellent! We must not forget how the First Nations were repaid for their kindness and generosity and yet, still gave their lives on the fields of battle in later generations defending this very country. We should pay back their attitude of sharing with those who came and had need by being as kind and generous to those that have come to us now with the same need for a home and a way to make a life. I will get off my soapbox now.

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    1. I don't know how we figure we can move forward without even acknowledge and truly making amends for the horrors of the past. Maybe our realities don't exist with that of other Americans.

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  4. A conflicted holiday for sure. I'm glad that in Canada, our Thanksgiving is tied only to the old tradition of a harvest festival. Much less guilt-inducing. Although Canada hasn't treated its First Nations any better than the US did so we should still reflect on that anyway.

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    1. Conflicted and then some. The First Nations have been mistreated all over. In places like the Dominican Republic they were just exterminated. Such terrible loss.

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  5. I'm with you. I have no trouble with a day put aside for us to be thankful for all we have but to connect it to the first nations who we tried our best to kill off seems a little wrong to me.

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    1. It makes that turkey a tad bitter.

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  6. I've always felt that worst "blind eye" messenger for this tradition is the children pilgrims and natives pictured at prayer. I think that speaks volumes in the way society has tried to make it seem less than what it really turned out to be.
    I hope that you and yours have a great meal together and only think about the happiness and thankfulness of the hour. xoxo Oma Linda

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    1. The First Thanksgiving, by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, describes what you mean: everyone is dressed in clothes that don't match the period, the mood just doesn't feel real, and the praying children (why?). But I guess it is easier to look at what we wish than at what it is.

      My wishes are with you and yours, too. ♥

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  7. I wonder if they will ever change the history books.

    May you have a happy day.

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    1. They've changed (or at least amended) books that spoke of most non-whites as barely humans, so I have hope!

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  8. It is one of those holidays that I think needs to be reinvented, and it is strange that we still associate it with it's origins. For many of us Christmas is about Santa and coziness, Easter about bunnies and springtime; not Jesus. I think Thanksgiving could get a similar makeover and become about the harvest and actual gratefulness, while at the same time being apologetic for it's less than savoury roots.

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    1. Reinvented, maybe shuffled around the calendar so that the history can be acknowledged or something. The current situation just won't do.

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  9. Lol I can't say anything, I come from a country where we celebrate 'Australia day' on the day the whites invaded. I think actually giving thanks and celebrating those who love you on thanksgiving is fine, but it's definitely not all about the sales and food.

    OK, everything is always about the food.

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  10. Magaly, thank you so much for this post. Since I'm three-quarters Native American (Oglala Sioux and Cherokee) I have a hard time with Thanksgiving. Not with giving thanks, but with the whole Pilgrim-Native American thing. It's good to know that others feel the same way.

    Blessings,

    Victoria

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    1. I think a lot of us feel that way, Victoria. I just wish that we were enough in numbers to do something about it. Some things just shouldn't stand.

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  11. *I feel an ure to see Wednesday Addams' re enactment* :D XXX

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    1. I see you've been spying again. *cough*

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  12. 100 million Native Americans killed over 400 years - but "an American tradition" and and "Don't be so sensitive". Yes, let's continue rubbing it in their faces..?

    Needless to say, my man and me dumped Thanksgiving somewhere over the Atlantic

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    1. The date is an insult, an insult indeed...

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  13. Lest we not Forget! With all the History repeating going on you'd think our world would be better.
    " To know better is to Do better" Maya Angelo,
    So Thanksgiving ( in true hearts) should be for inventory of blessings and correcting human booboo's
    Oh and sharing raw truths with the young ones so the school board sends letters home ! Cheers

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    1. It's really scaring, isn't it? I wonder how much we would be able to prevent, if we could--as a nation--recognize our faults and truly do something about them.

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  14. Trying to catch up on my blogging-too much of the national pastime of giving thanks for destroying another people's culture.

    Love the cartoon!

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