Real Talk on Thanksgiving

You have choices. You have time to make different choices too. I’m challenging you to examine how you and your family participate in Thanksgiving traditions and choose to do something different this year. I have been known to slide through the Thanksgiving holiday with the intention to be grateful, enjoy family and/or friends and eat a lot.

Family stress is a real thing and adding to that stress with my uncomfortable feelings around this ‘holiday’ was never something I wanted to engage in. This year I’m choosing differently. I’m not entirely sure how it will go but I know I will be intentional about some of the conversations we have. If you want to join me, please do!  

In a similar style to the Conversation Challenge that I hosted last month, I am sharing some of my prep work and prompts for a conversation about Thanksgiving, history and Native Americans that you can have on your own, with a friend or with family members. This work keeps me accountable and aligned with my values and I hope you find it helpful for you.

Conversation: What does it mean to “celebrate” Thanksgiving?

Prep work:
1. Reflect on what you know about Thanksgiving (where it originated, why it is celebrated, who celebrates and etc.) Watch this video and share with your family and friends. What surprised you about the video? If there were things you didn’t know, why do you think that is? Ask what your family members and friends know about Thanksgiving. Engage in conversation and discussion to increase understanding of this holiday.  Engage in reflection on if there is anything you would do differently during this time to begin to honor Native Americans and how would you practice Thanksgiving differently.

2. Read and share these 11 myths and the real facts. “Myths of the First Thanksgiving”.
Some possible reflections: What reaction did you have after reading myths vs facts around the history of the First Thanksgiving? Were there any new learnings? Was there anything hard to read or understand? What do you think is the impact of learning history based on myths? Examine how these myths have impacted the many Native American children and families living in Wisconsin?

3. Read Thanksgiving: A Day Of Mourning by Roy Cook.
Reflections: Did you know that not all people celebrate Thanksgiving? After the reading, what are your feelings around celebrating Thanksgiving? What and how can you share some of these new learnings with family and friends?

4. Celebrate Native Americans representing in government positions this Thanksgiving.  Native Americans were not granted citizenship until 1924 (link to information about Native Americans voting rights) and now, in 2018, we can celebrate the first Native American women elected to Congress. Find out who are the Native American leaders in local government (city, county) and in your state and the United States.
Reflection question: Why is a representation of Native Americans significant in US government?

Other Guided Questions for Conversation:
In what ways did your education growing up keep you from understanding the real story about Thanksgiving? How similar was the Native American struggle for their rights to the African American civil rights campaign? What is the difference between conquering land and colonization? Discuss the history around colonization. How are people stealing from the Native American culture and what can we do to remember, learn the truth, and honor the people, their traditions, and their culture?

If you are interested in more conversation prompts with prep work, you can click here for a FREE a Guided Conversation Challenge that consists of 7 conversation starters. When you sign up, you’ll receive an email every 10 days with a new conversation topic, prep work (10-30 minutes), and guided questions. Courageous conversations lead to ACTION.

If you want to share how your Thanksgiving reflections and conversations go, feel free to check in on my Facebook page or on Instagram. Accountability for the win!

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