Next week, many CFA members will celebrate Thanksgiving, or, as some in CFA leadership call it, ‘thankstaking.’ Dinner tables and celebrations will look different for many of us as COVID-19 continues its rampage across the state and the country.
For others, next week will look like any normal week in November: without a celebration of Thanksgiving. For our Native and Indigenous members, the reality and history of Thanksgiving is much more complex.
“Thanksgiving is one of the most celebrated and most misunderstood and misrepresented, mythically created holidays for mainstream America that exists,” said James Fenelon, Director of the Center for Indigenous Peoples Studies at CSU San Bernardino. “It is the second beachhead invasion point for the English colonial invasion in North America.”
He said that the holiday can be a time to reevaluate history and injustices done to Native and Indigenous Peoples across the country, including the history of the Wampanoag people and the effects of colonialism, disease, and war had on this Native people.
Fenelon said that families can issue a land acknowledgment during their Thanksgiving dinners – to acknowledge where we are as a society now and the ancestral lands we live on.
Several CSU campuses are still hosting events recognizing Native American Heritage Month.