Unpacking Thanksgiving

For a portion of November’s SURJ Chapter Meeting, two members hosted an educational session on the history of land and native people in relation to Thanksgiving and navigating conversations around the holidays. Below are some resources.

Article on the holiday itself: Thanksgiving: A Native American View, by Jacqueline Keeler

On having a dialogue in a way to foster continuing conversations: Talking Across the Political Divide: Skills for Difficult Personal Conversations, by Better Angels

Printable resources from national SURJ including the placemat (scroll a little):
www.showingupforracialjustice.org/thanksgiving

Also, here are some notes from our conversations during the chapter meeting about what barriers/resources came up when thinking about how we as individuals understand Thanksgiving and what might come up in thoughts about having courageous conversations with the people who we may be gathering with for the holiday:
  • The book titles mentioned were Bury My Heart at Wounded KneeAn Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United StatesCuster Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto
  • Consider the balance in maintaining relationships without avoiding breaking white silence
  • Share articles Before you’re at the dinner table which gives folks time to read digest and have background ahead of time
  • Connect to different backgrounds/frameworks, being sensitive that those backgrounds may not include the nuanced definitions that accompany the jargon of social justice
  • Incorporate honoring native people/creating new traditions in prayers said at the table
  • Initiate dialogue with “I learned something this week…”