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
- Heated driveways are a modern wonder, but what else can you do with radiant heating around…
- Black Layton football player punished after being called a racial slur
- Rose Bowl tickets available now for Utah football fans
- Meteorologists say rain and snow are headed to northern Utah this week
- Diplomatic boycott doesn’t change Salt Lake City’s bid for future winter games
- Dropping ‘Big Lie’ a good first step toward compromise, says former Arizona senator
- What you need to know about the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and COVID-19
- How long can I reuse and wear my face mask or respirator?
- Second officer released from hospital after shooting in West Valley City
- A man jumped out of taxiing airplane at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport