Try planting these seeds on Thanksgiving, plus a link to a humorous take on the topic of politics and Thanksgiving. Stay warm.
I wanted to write a post about how to change minds at Thanksgiving Dinner. I found tips like: How to Avoid Talking Politics at Thanksgiving or Never Talk Politics with Uncle Gus. The one piece I saw that actually encouraged political conversation at Thanksgiving was from The Atlantic and it took me a minute to realize it was a quasi-Onion-like piece. At first I thought it was just the views of an ultra conservative. The author offered this as the first of his 13 recommendations.
Many families say a pre-dinner prayer. But what if heathens are present? To include them, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, too, replacing “one nation, under God” with “… under Trump” so that everyone feels welcome. “
That I was somehow able to read beyond this first recommendation without realizing the sarcasm, perhaps says more about my need for a break than anything else. Click here if you want to check out the remainder of his recommendations. But I do offer up a couple of genuine suggestions for your Thanksgiving celebrations.
If there is a prayer offered. Once the prayer is completed, simply state: “I’d like us to share a moment of silence to give thanks that we are able to assemble here together and to acknowledge that we are assembled on stolen land.” If you are in Santa Fe, you likely know that we are on Tewa land, but if you click here, you can plug in any Zip Code in the U.S. and find the name of the indigenous people who once were shepherding the land far better than we are. Some friends will appreciate this and some will never have encountered it before. Your brief acknowledgement will likely give pause, but not launch an assault on you for having broached a pretty indisputable historic truth. If you do not partake in prayer before dinner, simply ask if you may offer some thoughts and do so per above.
If you want to do a bit more than acknowledge the land, before you go off to your Thanksgiving Dinner spend a bit of time with this excerpt from Jamie Blosser, Santa Fe Art Institute CEO, explore the links she has provided, and be prepared to talk a bit about the implications of our theft of indigenous lands:
For many of our country’s first peoples, Thanksgiving is not only celebrating a false history, but proves yet again how invisible they and their realities are to mainstream America. Did you know that there are over 565 federally recognized sovereign tribal nations? This is not even including the many more communities that are state-recognized or have not received U.S. government recognition. The Thanksgiving that celebrates Pilgrims and Native Americans breaking bread, inasmuch as it is a real story, is a story about only one such community, the Mashpee Wampanoag people, and I encourage you to read this New Yorker article about the true history of Thanksgiving and the Mashpee Wampanoag.Jamie Blosser, Santa Fe Art Institute
This holiday, please consider what you can personally do to acknowledge the true histories and contemporary realities of Native Americans. Check out this great map, showing Indigenous territories and languages around the world, and consider supporting amazing Indigenous-led organizations who are doing brilliant work, such as Tewa Women United, the Pueblo Action Alliance, Native Women Lead,Sovereign Bodies Institute, Utah Diné Bikéyah, and First Nations Community Health Source.
If you are asked what you are thankful for — You can offer up whatever you would normally say but close with: “And I am very thankful that I am part of the only generation in the long history of humanity with the opportunity and the responsibility to save the earth. And I am grateful that I am not alone in this effort as there are an increasing number of others who are prepared to work to preserve and protect the future for our children and their children.”
If you want to do anything more, just share the NASA chart below depicting the rise in CO2 in the atmosphere going back almost 1 million years. Yes, there are fluctuations, but the far right side of the chart quite clearly is not just a “fluctuation.” It is us, our generation.
With these two actions, you’ve shed the light on indigenous rights and the climate crisis without judging anyone or tossing out a specific issue. But you may have caused one or two of those present to draw you aside for conversation later in the day. And you will have scattered seeds beneath the snow. When that snow melts and those seeds are nourished by others, your blessings could bloom into inspiration and action.
Have a great holiday. We may not be back until next week. As noted in the beginning, I am rapidly speeding toward burn-out and need a break.
Paul & Roxanne