Thanksgiving

Ok, it was yesterday so my timing of this post is a little off. I have been seriously low on energy lately so writing posts has been difficult for me to do.

Anyway. A lot of people expect that I hate Thanksgiving, because I’m American Indian, have a degree in First Nations Studies, and am very vocal about how awful it is that the US has Columbus Day and we shouldn’t celebrate a dude who killed, enslaved, and raped a bunch of indigenous North Americans. I mean, you know, just saying.

While I loathe Columbus Day and think it should be renamed into Indigenous Peoples’ Day or Bartolom√© Day or something else, anything other than honoring the father of the transatlantic slave trade, I don’t actually hate Thanksgiving, for all the parallels drawn between the two.* That’s because my experience of it is pretty different from the way the Thanksgiving experience is portrayed in a lot of western media.

That school play thing where half the kids dress up as Pilgrims and the rest are Indians and there’s a giant turkey and it’s all very sappy and simple and glosses over the intricacies of the actual history, not to mention talking about “the Indians” as if we up and went away to the Undying Lands all Tolkein Elvish-style? Yeah, never had that. (The play specifically, I mean. I’ve experienced plenty of talk about Indians being “gone” or “lost to history” and will likely continue to experience that on a regular basis.)

The pat story about how the Pilgrims and the Indians survived the winter through the Power of Sharing? Was never really a Thing. I wasn’t even fully cognizant of that being part of the story until I was in my preteens. At which point, well, that seemed ridiculous.

Thanksgiving was always presented to me as more of a harvest celebration, where we’re grateful for the fact that we have food and shelter throughout the cold nights, and as a reminder that not everyone is as lucky. I don’t know if that’s just the way I was raised or if it’s more common in Canada to see Thanksgiving this way, but it’s how it was for me.

Also, once Mom and I moved to Hawai’i and began celebrating the US version of the holiday, it had the benefit of being a holiday that I was sure to have with her instead of on access with my father. (There was one Thanksgiving I spent with my father, when I got a week off school to come back to Canada in October, and brought my best friend. She’s forgiven me for that experience, thankfully.)

Finally, I fucking love turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie.

So while Thanksgiving might have dubious origins, and while it may contain enough threads of colonialism or just, well, being a family holiday to taint it for many people, for me it’s a celebration of thanks, harvest, togetherness, and PUMPKIN.

PUMPKIN SPICE FOR THE PUMPKIN GOD.

*cough* Right. Where was I?

Thanksgiving! Yes! So we spent Monday evening at Mr. Katje’s sister’s place. I made a pumpkin pie and it was a huge success. It was only my second pumpkin pie; the first one didn’t have enough pumpkin spice in it and the pumpkin god was displeased. Also it was bland. But I have pictures of the first one and not the second one, so here you go:

Making my first pumpkin pie!

MIXIN IN THE MIXER

Annd in the oven.

OVENIN’ IN THE OVEN

Smells delicious!

READY TO BE DEVOURED. PUMPKIN SPICE FOR THE PUMPKIN GOD.

Looks delicious, doesn’t it? Well, its brother was.

If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you had a wonderful one, full of all your favourite holiday foods and people.

-Katje, who is thankful for pumpkin

*Probably important to note here: I adored seeing 1492: Conquest of Paradise in theatres and I listen to the soundtrack to this day (in fact I’m listening to it now; it’s VANGELIS HE’S AMAZING). I visited Dominican Republic for the quincentennial celebration of the “discovery” by Columbus and there were huge parties. While now I acknowledge that Columbus was an ass and isn’t someone we should celebrate, that doesn’t change the fact that I didn’t know it then (I was 5 or 6 after all) and I still had an amazing time. And while I haven’t seen it in ages, I’m pretty sure I’d still enjoy the movie 1492: Conquest of Paradise even if Columbus is the protagonist. And I wouldn’t feel guilty, nor would I try to make anyone else feel guilty for enjoying that film or the music.

Just, you know, it’s possible to hold opposing thoughts in your brain at the same time without being devoured whole by them.

Practicing gratefulness, because life is AWESOME

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yes, for those of us in cold, snowy sunny Canada, it is Thanksgiving weekend. We have it in October instead of November. There’s a very good reason for that. If we tried to harvest anything in November, we would starve.

(Mind you, the timing of harvest festivals is sort of a moot point in a world where we can have mangoes from other countries flown to us year-round, but tradition dictates that Thanksgiving falls in October in Canada. Who am I to argue with tradition? Usually the first in line.)

Usually I spend this weekend with my boyfriend’s family, but today they’re having dinner over at his brother-in-law’s place, and they’re meeting his BIL’s parents. For the first time. Apparently BIL’s parents are…a bit more conservative than the rest of the family, so I will not be joining them. It was decided that my boyfriend was all the unorthodox they could take for this visit. Next year, I’ll be able to come.

I am actually okay with this. (Technically it’s our anniversary, too, but as we don’t really have a firm date for when the relationship “began” I’ve decided, unilaterally, that we shall have an Anniversary Week, from the 8th to the 16th of October. And we shall celebrate every day. He’s not totally on board yet, but give it time. I’ll wear him down.) Despite Thanksgiving being one of my favourite holidays now that I have a family again, I’m okay with not actually celebrating it this year.

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