Is it okay to still celebrate Thanksgiving?
It is Thanksgiving for people North of the US border and I’m struggling with whether it is still okay to celebrate Thanksgiving. Granted, I am a little biased because I have no cultural attachment to the holiday, having not being raised in North America. However, I think I have grasped the sentimental value that Thanksgiving brings to millions of people annually.
Looking from the outside in, Thanksgiving is shown to be a family reunion of sorts where families gather, eat turkey and get drunk on eggnog. I, myself, have celebrated and thoroughly enjoyed a Turkey roast or two, said what I was thankful for and never really thought twice about it. But upon deeper reflection, I began to ask myself whether celebrating the mass murder of Native communities was something that I really wanted to be a part of. Thanksgiving is rooted on such an ugly past that has been covered up with hundreds of years of festivities. This is not to say that North Americans are consciously, passing around cranberry jelly and toasting to the theft of Native land, but one’s intent and their subsequent impact are equally as important. The celebration of the brutalization of your people must be both jarring and unfortunately normalized.
Now, before anyone “ats” me, I am guilty of having celebrated Thanksgiving. I have done and probably will still buy a few things on Black Friday. I still catch myself referring to the day as Thanksgiving because it has been so deeply embedded in my mind, that the replacement of the word would likely be a difficult task, but not one that I am opposed to.
I am not writing this to ridicule anyone or their choice to celebrate Thanksgiving (or Native Remembrance Day) but to simply offer food for thought. We’re often so engulfed in our own lives and traditions, that we often disregard what these traditions represent.
So, is it still okay for you to celebrate Thanksgiving?
Is it still okay for me to celebrate Thanksgiving? No.