By Cassandra Kiger
For many, November marks the beginning of the holiday season, and though this year will inevitably look different, we can still find unique and creative ways to celebrate Thanksgiving. Balancing thankfulness while also acknowledging our very complicated reality takes a lot of intentionality. May each of us take moments to be kind to ourselves and notice the good things that do exist around us, but also challenge ourselves to see things in a new light.
Our community has slowly been working to more accurately tell the stories of Indigenous Peoples in Grand Rapids. Grand Rapids Public School now has a full Native American Education Program, and Mayor Rosalynn Bliss formally recognized October 12 at Indigenous People’s Day (instead of Columbus Day), a year after Governor Gretchen Whitmer did the same in the state of Michigan.
We encourage each person to consider how you and your family and friends can make steps alongside our community to “decolonize” our Thanksgiving traditions and take time to learn a more accurate narrative. Check out these resources for suggestions:
- Eight Ways to Decolonize and Honor Native Peoples on Thanksgiving
- How to Support Indigenous People on Thanksgiving
- Try out a new Indigenous recipe to add to your table
- Take a few minutes with family to read Native stories
- Remember that individuals and families have intersectional identities, and some of our fabulous immigrants in this city also have Indigenous heritage, which we can honor by learning more about.