Monday, October 10, 2011

Thanksgiving Has Many Meanings

'Thanksgiving turkey' photo (c) 2005, Antonello - license:

This is the time of the year when many Canucks sit down and stuff themselves to the point of having to wear elastic waist pants, or doing away altogether with belts.  Of course, one must remember to save room for the gorgeous pumpkin or apple pie and vanilla ice cream.  Some will employ the approach of taking a little everything which means plates are a cornucopia of sweet potato pie, macaroni and cheese, mashed and roasted potatoes, turkey and enough stuffing to stop a bullet.  Now that's what I am talking about. 

This year, for the first time I had a conversation with my children about what this day really symbolizes.  Yes, it is a wonderful day to give thanks for all the good we have in our lives, but it is also a celebration of colonialism, rape, murder and slavery.  Columbus after all is the father of the modern day slave trade.  There was a part of me that wanted them to remain innocent of the historical meaning of our feast, but the part of me that believes in speaking truth power, realized that arming my children with historical facts, rather than embracing a holiday because it has become normalized, would once again remind them of the inhumane inequality that this world is based on.  This year we acknowledge all of our privileges, while recognizing that they exist to exploit and damage others. This year thanksgiving was about being thankful for what we have, while recommitting to continue to fight for change.  As Canadians from coast to coast sit to eat today, I hope that they will take a moment to realize that this day is about so much more than coming together as a family and that it will become a beacon or catalyst for change because even as we consume massive amounts of food simply because we can, there are people in our communities that are going hungry.

Happy thanksgiving everyone.

Womanist Musings will return to regular posting tomorrow.