Are you ready for something different this Thanksgiving? Have your rituals of food, family and football become ruts?
Try sitting on the other side of the table, so to speak – the Indian side. After all, November is Native American Heritage Month.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
-Learn what really happened at that first Thanksgiving Feast, and a whole lot more besides. “This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving” by historian Daniel J. Silverman busts the myths of our grade-school pageants while introducing us to Indian reality in 17th century Massachusetts. Deep divisions opened within tribes over whether to welcome or attack ever-more-numerous colonists. Trading for European goods bolstered a tribe’s power and prestige, but the costs of contact included plague, violence and alcohol.
-Plan to attend a powwow. The website PowWows.com offers a state-by-state listing of events, as well as an etiquette guide and Native American sources of powwow supplies and regalia.
-Research whether you have enough Native American ancestry to join a tribe. The U.S. Department of the Interior offers a “Trace Indian Ancestry” page to get you started.
-Visit a museum of American Indian history, art and culture. PowWows.com has compiled a list of 10 (https://www.powwows.com/10-of-the-best-native-american-museums-in-the-united-states/). They’re located in Taos, New Mexico, Pittsburgh, Clewiston, Florida, Salamanca, New York, Phoenix, Warner, New Hampshire, Indianapolis, Onchiota, New York, Rapid City, South Dakota and Washington, D.C.
-Donate; see the Native American Heritage Fund, the American Indian College Fund, the Warrior Women Project and the covid fund at First Nations.
-Attend the National Day of Mourning in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Since 1970, the event on Thanksgiving Day has acknowledged the genocide, land theft and strength in action of Native Americans.