As Thanksgiving approaches, families and friends gather together to celebrate and give thanks. This year, we want to remember how Thanksgiving is not viewed as a celebration but rather as a day of grief and heartache for Native Americans and Alaska Natives. In some of our current history classes and schools, we learn about Thanksgiving as a peaceful event between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans which is far from the truth. Thanksgiving marks a day of genocide and the start of continual trauma that generations of Native Americans have endured all the way to today (FoodCorps). There have been strides to fix what has been done but it will never turn back time and give back the lives and the culture that has been lost due to settler colonialism.
November is Native American and Alaska Indian Heritage Month. In this month of November, we want to celebrate and honor Indigenous peoples from the past, present, and future. We want to share and reflect on Indigenous people’s resilience and strength that has persevered through their land being stolen and families being relocated, massacres, discrimination, the terrors of boarding schools, and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Children, and Two-Spirit (MMIWG2S) epidemic that still occurs today.
What We Can Do
Educate Yourself and Others on Native American and Alaska Indian Heritage
Learn about the land that you inhabit through the Native Land Digital tool. Educate yourself and others during Native American and Alaska Indian Heritage Month:
MCH-Maternal and Child Health-Related Resources:
- Article: American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) Children Are Overrepresented in Foster Care in States With the Largest Proportions of AIAN Children – Child Trends
- Pre-recorded Webinar: Supporting Indigenous Children and Families: Understanding Risk and Resilience in Cultural, Community and Historical Context and Implications for Practice – Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health
- Article: Federal Policies That Contribute to Racial and Ethnic Health Inequities and Potential Solutions for Indigenous Children, Families, and Communities – Child Trends
- Tool-kit: Sample Lessons for Pre-K through 12th grade – Lessons of Our Land
- Website: Native American Heritage Month – Minority Health hhs.gov
- Website: 8 Ways to Decolonize and Honor Native Peoples on Thanksgiving – Cultural Survival
- Website: Rethinking Thanksgiving Celebrations: Native Perspectives on Thanksgiving – National Museum of the American Indian Smithsonian
- Video: Decolonization Is for Everyone by Nikki Sanchez