Thanksgiving: from a native American’s perspective

As my wife, kids and I enjoy our Thanksgiving holiday and give thanks for how blessed we are, I can’t help but consider what others are feeling on this holiday…namely native Americans.

Imagine it’s 1805 instead of 2005. You’re a Plains native living off the land and the >60 million (yep…MILLION) bison that roam the plains. The abundance you have — in land and animal — is considerable. Undoubtedly you would give thanks to your spiritual beings. The natives did this and more: they also paid homage to the bison and what they’d give up (their life) to feed and clothe the natives. This was not something taken lightly by them.

After decimating the native populations in the East, the Europeans move West (and around the place I live, present day Minnesota) and kill the bison for sport and to take away the primary food source of the natives. The people are hunted down and forced to live on reservations.

For the most part, native Americans do not celebrate this Thanksgiving holiday. This day is not one of joy nor is it a celelbration. In fact, some natives head to Plymouth Rock (the place purported to be the landing of the Pilgrims, their interaction with the natives and thus the bountiful feast that is the Thanksgiving holiday of today) and for the native people of our country, today is a national day of mourning for what was lost.

  • A strong native America point of view here
  • There is an interesting perspective from a native American who celebrates Thanksgiving here
  • Abraham Lincoln’s official 1863 proclamation starting the Thanksgiving holiday is here.

As I grew up, even thinking about the perspective of a long ago vanquished people (the native Americans) was something I wasn’t taught nor cared much about. As I’ve grown older, I have frequently brought up thoughts about how our countries native people’s got the short-end-of-the-stick in days gone by. Friends of mine would say, “Borsch…get over it. They lost.” and all discussion would end.

Anyway…there’s some more food for thought today along with your turkey…

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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