We at Reading Is Resistance recognize that the mythology around "Thanksgiving" has been and continues to be used as a weapon of erasure and genocide of Indigenous people at the hands of white settlers and white settler ideology. The specific land from the Thanksgiving meal myth is the home of the Wampanoag. Each year, the group United American Indians of New England holds an annual National Day of Mourning on that land and on the "Thanksgiving" holiday. We invite you to think about how mourning and understanding our own individual and collective positionalities can be part of your everyday practice. We take this time to consider our place in this story -- the way we may promote this kind of mythology and/or where we are located in the narratives of this land we are on as part of the way you experience this season. We are actively committed to decolonization as well as anti-racist frameworks as daily and forever ongoing practices of learning and unlearning.
Our family no longer observes "Thanksgiving." That doesn't mean that we don't love family, gathering, eating, or gratitude. It just means that the foundations that underpin this holiday and the way the celebration of "Thanksgiving" has been used as a weapon of white supremacy do not correlate with our values. We are done with it. Instead, we will be taking time both to mourn and to connect.
This year, I’ve been reading and re-reading Indigenous and Decolonizing Studies in Education: Mapping the Long View, a collection edited by Dr. Eve Tuck, Dr. Linda Tuhiwai Smith and Dr. Wayne Yang. In her chapter titled "Literacies of Land: Decolonizing Narratives, Storying, and Literature," Dr. Sandra Styres describes the Land (with a capitalized "L") as our first teacher. Styres talks about the way the Land holds our memories and experiences. In her discussion, the Land is a living reflection of our journeys and practices, not just our geography, but our intersections, connections, and dependence on each other (Styres 27). The Land is both storyteller and story.
In this season, this autumn, this shift into darkness, let's take time and space to recognize the Land that we stand on, the stories we build our lives around, and those stories that we erase. What stories are foundational to who we are? Where does this bring us wellness and wholeness in community? Where does this separate and harm? Which stories are rooted in our humanity and liberation? Which stories alienate us from each other?
And may we continue to read, learn, gather, remember, and imagine with love toward transformation.
Check out our booklist of incredible Indigenous authors from unique nations, Land, and communities across the U.S. and Canada at our Book Shop.