How to make your Thanksgiving celebrations more inclusive
SALT LAKE CITY — For many Americans, Thanksgiving is an opportunity to recognize the Europeans that landed on North American shores and began exploring. But for Native Americans, the holiday focuses on the harvest and a celebration of thankfulness.
Utah Division of Indian Affairs Director Dustin Jansen said these Thanksgiving traditions aren’t anything new for Indigenous people.
“Prior to these people landing on our shores, many Indigenous communities were also agricultural communities who celebrated the fall harvest each year,” Jansen said.
Thanksgiving celebrated by Native Americans
One common thread that has carried over from earlier communities, is that different tribes all celebrate this harvest.
Currently, there are 574 federally recognized tribes in the United States and eight alone in the state of Utah. Utah also has nearly 200 state-recognized tribal groups.
How does the history of Thanksgiving translate to Indigenous people who may be celebrating?
“Many Native Americans in the community will celebrate Thanksgiving. It might not be based in the same settler-colonial spirit as most Americans have associated with Thanksgiving, but I haven’t been in any conversations where the word ‘mourning’ is used,” Jansen said.
Thanksgiving is a time to express gratitude
Above all else, Thanksgiving is a time to express gratitude toward all, no matter what beliefs you hold close.
“Native people believe in a creator that blesses all, and we should express gratitude towards our friends, our families by blood, and families by choice. Thanksgiving is a time for a celebration of that, absolutely.” Jansen said.
When asked how Americans could be more inclusive toward Indigenous people this holiday, Jansen said it’s important to acknowledge the stewardship of Native Americans who came before, especially as it concerns the land.
“For Indigenous people, there is a spiritual tie to it all, and a responsibility to take care of the land,” he said.
Other ways to be more inclusive this season? Always love your neighbors, even those who come from differing cultures.
“I think that we can be better people to one another and express this through gratitude, not just by remembering the things we have, but acknowledging others who don’t have those things to celebrate. Hopefully they can reach out to others in need so that this holiday can be one of happiness,” Jansen said.
Today’s Top Stories
- How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal
- Thousands of dead fish are washing up along a California river. It’s because of a…
- Low water levels at Utah Lake cause restrictions for Daybreak
- Utah company, Lions Not Sheep ordered to cease “made in USA” claims
- UPDATE: Flood advisory for portions of Salt Lake Valley and Davis County
- UPDATE: Flooding, road closures, and power outages in SLC
- President Joe Biden officially cleared to emerge from isolation following rebound Covid-19 case
- The mysterious companies behind Costco’s Kirkland Signature and Trader Joe’s O’s
- Top scientist admits ‘space telescope image’ was actually a slice of chorizo
- Utah Highway Patrol responds to head-on crash on U.S Highway 6