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Thanksgiving Left A Bad Taste In My Mouth
Thanksgiving is already one of those "makes me go hmmm" holidays. Similar to Columbus Day, it's one of those holidays that is only a celebration if you use a revisionist version of history. Somehow the Native Americans were first viewed as thankful and gracious to the Pilgrims and later viewed as savages worthy of death. Maybe it was something in the gravy.
Or as Jon Stewart summed up Thanksgiving: “I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.”
What made matters worse this year were the Black Friday specials starting on Thanksgiving. I mean literally hours or minutes (depending on how long your turkey took) after giving thanks for what you have, you were incentivized to go buy more stuff.
It just goes to show you how commercialism had insinuated itself into every aspect of our lives. Even a so-called day of thanks and gratitude is now fair game for capitalist interests. And we fall for it every time.
Some people fell literally. Like those next to the woman in Los Angeles who pepper sprayed other Wal-Mart customers to keep them from getting the TV she wanted.
I admit, I was on a Black Thursday/Friday line at midnight, hoping to buy a laptop for my 11-year old daughter at a great price. Now that she's in middle school, she needs her own computer. We stood on a weaving, in and out and through the parking lot line at Wal-Mart and of course, they were out of laptops by the time we entered the store.
Therefore, my Black Friday purchases were laundry detergent, deodorant and a telescope (on special) for my son. Not very doorbuster-like.
But watching people leaving the store with 2 and 3 TVs made me wonder how much excess is part of our lives. We probably even over ate at Thanksgiving--having more than we actually needed. Everything is about over indulgence.
Meanwhile, November is actually Native American Heritage month—the one indigenous group most due some reparations. The history of Native Americans is more tragic than words can say, and the ongoing impact on their communities is undeniable. And somehow their story gets completely lost at Thanksgiving.
Next year, my family will focus on the real history of Thanksgiving, not the romanticized version of Thanksgiving or the doorbuster deals of the morning. And I am thankful to my friend Euphoria Luv for her great post on Native American Heritage Month.
I am also thankful for my fellow IATP fellow, Valerie Segrest who is a member of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and works as the Community Nutritionist and Native Foods Educator for the Northwest Indian College's Cooperative Extension Department. I have learned so much about indigenous food and culture from her.
Valarie is an amazing and outspoken American Indian woman, and her goal is to restore health and well being to her tribe and other Native communities. Check out her recent post on reclaiming Native American cultural food practices.
Boy, do I have a lot to learn.
And I hope next year we walk away from Thanksgiving with a deeper level of satisfaction, that has nothing to do with the meal.