Thanksgiving is a time for families to come together, break bread, and think about everything they are grateful for. That's how generations of families were brought up.
Unfortunately, that isn't the real story of Thanksgiving.
For Native Americans, Thanksgiving is not a celebration - it's a national day of mourning. It's a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native Americans, the assault on Native American culture, and the theft of Native American land.
If it weren't for Native Americans, the English thieves would not have had a successful harvest. Once the English thieves got what they wanted, however, they broke their cooperation with the Native Americans. Native Americans were slaughtered by the millions.
"Soo...how do I participate in Thanksgiving?"
You can tell the true story of Thanksgiving. You can remember the Native American men, women and children that were slaughtered unjustly.
"Isn't that a bit somber?" Yes, but don't you think that it's even worse for the Native Americans? They are watching illegals break bread on their land. For generations, it has been a painful reminder of what their ancestors went through.
"Fair enough. What do I tell my kids about the story of Thanksgiving?"
Be honest. First Nations Development Institute has a list of books that accurately tell the story of Thanksgiving, in a way that kids will understand.
Echo Hawk, a member of the Pawnee Nation and founder and chief executive officer of IllumiNative said that we shouldn't just care about or acknowledge Native Americans during Thanksgiving. Native Americans should be acknowledged all year round.
The sad reality is, 87% of the K-12 curriculum in this country does NOT mention Native American history. It's been concealed and changed by white men throughout history.
After reading more about Native American history, my son and I will show our solidarity for the Native Americans by NOT acknowledging the English Thanksgiving.
Personally, I think the holiday should be canceled.
Saturday was a historic day for America, and the world. Billions of people watched as Joe Biden was named President-Elect of the USA. Kamala Harris made HERstory as the first female Veep of African-American and Indian descent. Millions around the globe celebrated this historic win, and many gloated about Trump's loss.
Countless memes circulated the internet (some of them I actually made), and many videos were made that shamed conservatives.
As excited as I was about the win, and as excited as I was to see the world celebrating our victory, I noticed an ugly side to the celebrations: excessive gloating.
People that were celebrating Trump's loss were ALSO met by Trump supporters. In many places, these situations turned volatile. In my small country town, two demonstrations took place: Black Lives Matter, and Trump supporters screaming "Voter Fraud." One BLM demonstrator, and one Trump follower got into a heated argument. A car pulled up and sprayed both of them with pepper spray and took off. Another situation in the same area involved 2 Trump supporters getting volatile with other BLM supporters.
On Saturday, I was watching a livecam of NYC and the comments on the livecam were disturbing. Many were calling for an attempt on Biden's life. Many were calling for a civil war against those who didn't vote for Trump. These people were out for blood. Between those comments, and what happened in my town, I realized that gloating can only hurt us right now.
On Sunday, I woke up with a quote in my mind and in my heart:
"When they go low, we go high."
Those are words that Michelle Obama has repeated through the years, and they are just as impactful today.
On Saturday, I gloated the fuck out of the results. I was 'balls to the wall' gloating. I went overboard.
I ended up deleting a lot of my social media posts Sunday morning, because that is not the type of person I want to be. Wrong attitude, wrong year, and wrong time to act out like that. We STILL have an unhinged president with 72 million angry followers. Gloating right now is like poking an angry, rabid bear. It will only invite violence and death.
Let's also not forget that we are still dealing with coronavirus. These large gatherings are the same gatherings we slammed Trump's people for. Now we look like hypocrites! Yes, we are wearing masks, but we are gathering by the thousands. It's not a good look for us. Not to mention, many states have laws against large gatherings. I've been reading a lot of comments from Trump supporters, and they are calling the celebrations "super-spreader events."
We are better than this, guys. We need to behave with some poise and class.
We need to get through the next 2+ months without additional lives lost. These are going to be tough months, as coronavirus numbers are increasing, and Trump isn't going to do a damn thing to help us. The last thing we need to do is gloat, and risk getting hurt by livid Trump supporters.
We need to stop the gloating. We need to rise above. We cannot stoop down to their level.
We need to remember who the fuck we are. We are strong survivors. We are not gloating martyrs. Let's leave the martyrdom to the Trump community. That's their specialty.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg would want us to be civilized about this win. Yes, Trump has royally fucked our country. However, trading 'blow-for-blow' will only speed up our descent into darkness. I won't be a part of this gloating martyrdom anymore. There are better ways to handle this. I'm asking you guys to fall back, and strategize better ways to handle things.
Again, we are better than this. I know some of you will be, like: "But Shauna, you are inspired by the works of the most radical feminists. You have loud opinions and you should continue to be loud. That's why we love you." Guys, I am still loud about my opinions, and I still read the works of Shulamith Firestone, Andrea Dworkin, and Marilyn French like it's my Bible. However, given our circumstances, and given that I've seen how pissed off Trump supporters are right now, we need a new strategy. Gloating and 'eye-for-an-eye' isn't helping us, nor is gathering together in large groups. We won this election because we were smart about social distancing, and we were smart about everything else we did. All of that unraveled in our excitement, and THAT has given the conservatives ammo to hurt us.
We need to be smarter about this.