Digital and Graphic Designer
I am a Graphic Designer and Photographer working and living in south central Pennsylvania.
Learn more about Terri Shadle
November 24, 2022
For many Americans, Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks: thanks for our family, friends, our good luck: small and large, while heaping our plates with turkey, stuffing, potatoes and pie. But for many Native Americans, it is seen as a day of mourning.
November is Native American Heritage Month and (as the story goes) the first Thanksgiving could not have happened without the Wampanoag tribe and the aid they gave to the Pilgrims at Plymouth in 1621. In the centuries that followed however, Native Americans have suffered tremendous devastation and hardship at the hands of European settlers and the US government.
If you do celebrate Thanksgiving, we hope you will also:
- Give thanks and celebrate the many contributions of Native Americans have made in medicine, art, science, military service, government and conservation;
- Go beyond Thanksgiving lore and honor the many Native American lives and cultures that were damaged or destroyed by teaching the complicated and fraught history between Native Americans and settlers
- Learn about the tribal nation that is local to where you live
- And share that knowledge with your students, colleagues, friends and family
Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be either/or, it can be both/and. A day of celebration and mourning, of family and community, of gratitude and protest, of remembrance and action. We can only protect and empower indigenous cultures here and around the world, if we learn from our history and work to end the continuing inequity that Native Americans suffer at home.
Climate March, Washington DC, 2017 | Photos by Terri Shadle
For additional reading and watching:
- American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving
- What does Thanksgiving Mean to Indigenous Peoples?
- Learn more about the diverse experiences of Native Americans and Alaska Natives with this collection of documentaries
- A Thanksgiving Message from Seven Amazing Native Americans