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Mourning and Gratitude

Greetings! While most of us traditionally have grown accustom to celebrating Thanksgiving based on our indoctrination via school and family there will be thousands of indigenous people mourning parts of their history and celebrating their heritage. Europeans came to what is now the state of Connecticut and killed 700 indigenous people during their annual Green Corn Festival, which was their Thanksgiving, in 1637.The slaughter, according to the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony at the time of the killings, called for a true “day of Thanksgiving.” 

The information is available to those who seek the truth. At the end of this article I will share resources for those interested in learning more. All of my life, my family has celebrated Thanksgiving but in the same breath my family has shared stories passed down from generation to generation about the native or indigenous members of my family. I've only seen a handful of pictures but I never met any of them in person.

Truth be told a lot of Black/African American families say that they have "Indian" in their families. It's like some type of badge of honor saying it because many of us were searching for explanations on hair textures and skin tones. If you had a particular hair texture it was considered "good hair" and if your features swayed from what we thought were regular "black" features you had to be mixed with "Indian" or some other ethnicity. It's great to know your history but also think that many  Black/African American people have been programmed to believe that being anything other than Black was better but that is far from the truth.   

I would like to take a DNA test soon to confirm the information that my family has shared for many years but I identify as a Black woman and I'm very proud of that!  As I await taking the test, I write this not claiming to be indigenous but as an ally to the indigenous. Below are 7 things we can do to support the "Native" and "Indigenous" people. 

1. Take time to learn the indigenous history of where you live.

2. Learn about the lives of Native populations through an indigenous lens.
3. Support Native American history and celebrate culture respectfully.
4. Support organizations advocating for Native American communities.
5. Learn about inequalities that still exist within indigenous communities.
6. Support the needs of your local tribes.
7. Listen.

Rule No. 1 when it comes to being an ally: Stop talking and listen. 

As I go into this day I will remember the lost. Today will also be a day of gratitude for myself and my family. I have so many things to be grateful for and I will acknowledge them. We will break bread, laugh, pray and rest. 

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it and to those observing today as a Mourning Day, blessings!

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