“I’m thankful for being born indigenous to this continent,” a powerful statement I could never make; a powerful statement most people that live in this country cannot make, but one young Native American girl did in a video about the truth behind Thanksgiving with a group of 5 of her peers.
“After every killing of a whole village, these European settlers celebrated it and called it ‘thanksgiving’. But it wasn’t until Abraham Lincoln became president that it became an official holiday.” This stung on so many levels: I knew the reasons we celebrated Thanksgiving weren’t legitimate but I didn’t know the truth was this ugly, and to top it off the President “who freed the slaves” is the same one that partook in celebrating these tragedies.
Revisionist history certainly works in overdrive this time of year.
Now, more clearly than ever, do I see the importance in connecting the Black struggle to that of Native Americans who have been persecuted in an effort for America to uphold its “exceptionalism”, a concept that has only ever truly belonged to White men.
“I’m thankful to be Indigenous, resilient, and alive,” another girl stated echoing similar qualities that have been prescribed to the Black community as we have lived at the hands of White Supremacy. To have everything taken from you – your land, your family, your culture – and then celebrated annually through the erasure of your history and replaced by hyper-consumerism is something I can’t wrap my head around.
If I am thankful for anything this year, I am thankful for Native Americans that are fighting to reclaim their land, their history, and their culture inspiring me to continue to do the same. And I am thankful for our willingness to overthrow Whiteness.
Photo via Teen Vogue (screenshot)