Teach Your Children Well
Thoughts for the holiday dinner table
Plenty has been said, and said better than I could, about the cultural contradictions and difficulties around this November 24th holiday. My adding more words of deconstruction or history or advocacy would be redundant so this will be brief.
I’ll start by just reminding readers that these continents now known as North and South America, the lands west across the Atlantic Ocean from Europe, were once inhabited by a great many other worthy humans, whose lives and lands were disrupted and stolen.
OK, now what? What do we do with this holiday with its traditions that gloss over or ignore unpleasant truths? This question becomes even more important when there are children around the dinner table, whom we want to grow up to be aware, conscious, compassionate, forthright individuals. Here’s where I offer my view.
Don’t tell the usual story. Find better ways to frame the conversation. Say that the incredibly rich heritage of the civilizations that once flourished here must be brought back into the fabric of today’s culture. Say that millions of wise, fit, highly cultured people once lived all across these lands, and we should learn from those who are left, and cherish them. And that we should learn from our taking away what was theirs. And that while Black slavery was partially mitigated, isolation and marginalization of the indigenous population wasn’t, and that we have work to do. Go beyond the turkeys and Indian headdress decorations.
I have donated to indigenous causes and organizations and will continue to do so. I encourage my readers to do the same in this time of ritual. For each article share or subscription signup, I will donate $10, up to a maximum of $500, to the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County, or you can donate directly.
Here are some links. I hope will do some homework and teach your children well. Be thankful for what all indigenous peoples have contributed to our world.
The Indigenous Stories Glossed Over In The Typical 'First Thanksgiving' Story – Short NPR podcast.
Chief Joseph: Tagged ‘The Red Napoleon’ by American Press – one of the many stories about an iconic leader
Indian Boyhood – The incredible story of Charles A. Eastman (Ohíye S'a) Sioux, physician, writer, activist born in 1858
Wikipedia article - Indigneous history
Subscribe for free to receive new posts and encourage my work. Your subscription will benefit the Esselen Tribe of Monterey