It's that time of year again. That garbage son of American holidays, which involves dry meat, canned sauce, revisionist history and stressful conversations with relatives. The one many Indigenous people know as the National Day of Mourning.
Last year, activist Allen Salway (@lilnativeboy — his display handle is currently Fuck Thanksgiving) wrote an essay for PAPER about what the holiday means to him as a Native person. He reminded us that the original Thanksgiving meal, held in 1637, was actually a victory feast following the Pequot Massacre, where between 400 and 700 Native people were slaughtered.
"Thanksgiving is a reminder of our resistance as Indigenous People navigating this settler society that continuously tries to erase and destroy us, yet we are still here," he writes.
For those who consider themselves allies of the Indigenous community or opponents of white supremacy in general, Thanksgiving is a conundrum. A good place to start with solving it is to read some Native voices on the topic — besides Salway, Winona LaDuke, Jaqueline Keeler or Simon Moya-Smith; mentioning all of this to your parents; and putting some of your Black Friday coin towards organizations that improve life for Native people.
Here are a few suggestions.
The Navajo Water Project
The NWP is a community-managed utilities alternative, that helps bring clean running water to Navajo homes in New Mexico, Utah and Arizona that don't have water or sewer lines. Donate here.
The American Indian College Fund
The AICF funds 6,000 college scholarships every year for Native American students. Donate here.
The Native American Rights Fund
NARF is one of the largest and oldest legal advocacy groups fighting to make the US state and federal government to comply with their legal obligations to First Peoples, funding legal representation and giving financial assistance to advocates. Donate here.
Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women
The Native American Heritage Association
The NAHA supports two of America's poorest communities: Native people living on the Crow Creek and Pine Ridge Reservations in South Dakota, providing food and basic necessities. Donate here.
Photo via Getty