Every year, Thanksgiving in the United States brings to mind turkeys on dinner plates, family reunions, and stories of Native hospitality towards English settlers around which the holiday is based. 


Yet for many Native Americans, Thanksgiving remains a national day of mourning, a reminder of the devestating genocide and decades of suffering that were galvanized by European arrival in the Americas. 


The idyllic story that the Wampanoag welcomed the grateful pilgrims to a celebratory feast that we now honor as Thanksgiving fails to acknowledge the history of settlers’ land expansion, biological warfare, and exploitation that irreparably destroyed Indigenous lives and communities. At the Center for Social Solutions, we acknowledge the falsehoods in these long-perpetuated narratives and aim to decolonize Thanksgiving by coming to terms with its origins and honoring a future in which Native peoples, cultures, and histories are celebrated. 


Check out the following ways to decolonize your Thanksgiving celebrations:


  1. Learn the real story behind Thanksgiving in this thought-provoking article by the Smithsonian. 

  2. Acknowledge Native lands near you and the history of colonial land expansion through the interactive Native Lands Map.

  3. Go a step further and support the land back movement and other contemporary Indigenous struggles including the advocacy of missing and murdered indigenous women.

  4. Find new ways to say thanks through this Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address.

  5. Read about Native peoples, cultures, and history.

Understand how Indigenous leaders are shaping reparations efforts across the country.