thanksliving: the complexity

Laying in bed before this day fully begins, relishing the complexity of this day.

On one side, I have a lot of non-native friends pointing out that this is Native American Holocaust Day, Indigenous Genocide Day, a celebration rooted in the beginnning of the betrayal and deliberate obliteration of the people of this land.

On another side, I have the memory of the first Thanksgiving after starting to work with indigenous communities, and how hard they laughed at my guilt. One friend told me, “we don’t sit around talking about our genocide…we eat some turkey and express gratitude for each other and keep it moving.”

On another side, I have friends starting the day in ceremony, to call remembrance and redemption into this day. I experience true gratitude that there are Indigenous people still living, growing, organizing and leading; I believe that the solutions to many of our collective crises are embedded in the way communities still connected to their indigenous culture live. It is an atrocity, what happened. It is hard to believe.

On another hand there’s an effort to laugh together, to own the history. Yesterday I watched a brilliant, sad, hilarious video of kids reenacting the real Thanksgiving. This made me reflect on how often history just needs to be seen, heard and acknowledged to allow a healing process.

And then there’s the hand of my gratitude. My father is alive, my nephew is a genius, my sisters are patient and strong, another baby is on the way, my mother is strong and healthy. My love is brilliant and better than me, my friends are gracious, my work is engaging and impactful. My life is my own, my voice is clear, my needs are few. My grandparents are talking to me knowing the truth of who I am, my heart can feel a new way emerging, my dreams are fantastical, my days are full.

This is a complex time, to be fully human is to comprehend all of it. Our roots are all bloody, our fruit is all strange, our ancestors are at the table with us.

Celebrate the blood and breath moving through you, and do something today worthy of the life within you, the sacrifices and struggles that preceded you, the dreams before you.

Thanksliving. –> saw it on a church marquee, and decided to practice.

Off to make a sweet potato souffle.

2 Responses to “thanksliving: the complexity”


  1. 1 dave

    this is uplifting, thank you. i usually just hide indoors and work my ass off on this day, feeling guilty.

    “express our gratitude for each other and keep it moving…”

  2. 2 Emily Levy

    That was more satisfying than a feast, more moving than the intestines afterwards. Thank you for reminding us how many “sides” there are. You are a polygon of virtue!

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