This morning I was up long before the sun. It’s my job to make the turkey, and it’s a labor intensive process. First, I have to cook the brine. The turkey soaks in that for two days. Then, while my family slept in, I massaged it with butter and herbs and started the long roasting process.
It’s tradition–one that allows me to show my family how much I love them with one of the gifts I have been given–something I missed doing when I was in Dallas. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday–the food is always the best, there aren’t gift expectations or a million parties or organize, and it’s just a day about love and gratitude.
But that isn’t what Thanksgiving is for a lot of people–something I’ve never really considered until this year.
In school, we dressed up for Pioneer Day, and watched a blacksmith make horseshoes while we learned how to make “old fashioned cornbread” in the parking lot. We probably had turkey for lunch that day. Our Thanksgiving lessons always contained pictures and stories of how the pilgrims were starving and the Native Americans brought maize and taught them how to farm it. As a corn farmer’s daughter, that was especially cool.
I know we learned about the Trail of Tears when we were older, but those dress up days of peace and food (for some strange reason…hmmm) left a much bigger impression than those short cold lessons of disease and genocide.
Historically, Thanksgiving isn’t the Norman Rockwall painting I posted last year. Native Americans might have contributed to our corn farming–but we repaid them by stealing their land and massacring their people.
We can’t forget that happened. This holiday has a pretty dark past, and we can’t just look over all of that and pretend it all away. It might be our history, but we can make sure it doesn’t happen again now. Because guess what, IT IS HAPPENING AGAIN NOW.
I’m going to spend today loving my family and being grateful for the blessings I have around me. My life is full of privilege that others do not have.
But while I do that, I cannot forget that as I sit here, there are people fighting to keep the rights to their land and water in North Dakota. The Standing Rock Nation started this week of our Thanksgiving by having waterhoses and pepper spray turned on their peaceful protest camps–IN 25 DEGREE WEATHER.
Want to make Thanksgiving actually mean something? There are lots of ways to help with the Standing Rock Nation and the #NoDAPL protests. Here’s how (From the 98%):
If you’re on social media, these hashtags will help keep you up to date on all the news coming out of the camp: #HonorTheTreaties #NoBakken #SacredStoneCamp #STOPDAPL #MniWiconi #SacredWater #NoDAPL #RezpectOurWater #StandWithStandingRock