Slightly OT (my apologies in advance)… some of us USAians fast on official Thanksgiving Day.
Professor Robert Jensen of the University of Texas at Austin said: “One indication of moral progress in the United States would be the replacement of Thanksgiving Day and its self-indulgent family feasting with a National Day of Atonement accompanied by a self-reflective collective fasting.”
Native American celebrations today
Unsurprisingly, many Native Americans honour Thanksgiving differently.
While mainstream America is carving up an estimated 45 million turkeys, various tribes in Massachusetts will be paying tribute via the National Day of Mourning atop Coles Hill, which overlooks Plymouth Rock. The Wampanoags and others fast for the occasion, a direct and intentional contrast to the standard Thanksgiving tradition of overconsumption. In recent years, the event has grown to include presentations, skits, and demonstrations.
Others approach Thanksgiving from a more nuanced perspective. In A Native American View, Jacqueline Keeler admits she celebrates Thanksgiving. To her, the day is about giving thanks for being a descendant of the small group of survivors of Europe’s ‘discovery’ of America.
And some of us have withdrawn our consent from the meat industry. I am cooking for my family today, and we give thanks for the Three Sisters: beans, corn and squash. We eat these foods all year, and we will certainly eat them today.
A book I simply cannot recommend highly enough:
Please note this is the second edition, which I could scarcely believe is better than the first edition but, yes, the updating makes it better.
If you are reading this, and are looking for a rigorously well-researched, lively, intriguing glimpse back in time to “USA” pre-colonialism, pre-discovery by Columbus et al., I beg you to read this book. Author Charles C. Mann will amply reward for your efforts.
A few years ago it occurred to me that my ancestor and everyone else in the colony had voluntarily enlisted in a venture that brought them to New England without food or shelter six weeks before winter. Half the 102 people on the Mayflower made it through to spring, which to me was amazing. How, I wondered, did they survive?
In his history of Plymouth Colony, Bradford provided the answer: by robbing Indian houses and graves. The Mayflower first hove to at Cape Cod. An armed company staggered out. Eventually it found a recently deserted Indian settlement. The newcomers—hungry, cold, sick—dug up graves and ransacked houses, looking for underground stashes of corn. “And sure it was God’s good providence that we found this corn,” Bradford wrote, “for else we know not how we should have done.” (He felt uneasy about the thievery, though.) When the colonists came to Plymouth, a month later, they set up shop in another deserted Indian village. All through the coastal forest the Indians had “died on heapes, as they lay in their houses,” the English trader Thomas Morton noted. “And the bones and skulls upon the severall places of their habitations made such a spectacle” that to Morton the Massachusetts woods seemed to be “a new found Golgotha”—the hill of executions in Roman Jerusalem.
… so, uh…
I am thankful for bOINGbOING.
I am thankful for smart insightful members whose rational discourse and adherence to evidence and fact make me a better person. I am educated by you. And sometimes you make me laugh.
I am thankful to @orenwolf for riding herd over the stuff that keeps bOING operational as a hangout for our fractious bunch.
I am thankful for a breathable atmosphere, for clean water, starry nights and natural sights, good company and good neighbors, and all the other sine qua non that First World Problems distract me from. May our green and blue planet last long, house and feed us well, and may we be worthy of our continuing habitation.
Let there be light.