I recently posted that my inner conflicts about celebrating secular Thanksgiving have come to a head and I no longer feel that I can participate. I feel even more determined about my position today after reading about what happened last night to the Water Protectors on the frontline against DAPL.
It’s been an interesting experiment so far. My family’s reaction has been milder than expected and this is partly to do with my father feeling over the holiday fuss and my sister having similar feelings as me. (It doesn’t hurt that my niece is supposed to go to her father for the holiday so any sentimental argument to just get together with family quickly fell apart. We wouldn’t feel complete anyway.) My mother was the least happy with my announcement but understood. I’m not sure what others in my family may feel. Confusion or disappointment, perhaps, but I’m hopeful that knowledge of what I’m doing gets them talking and thinking. I know the few co-workers who know about my position were taken aback at first then understood my reasons when thinking it over. I’ve made it very clear that whatever anyone else decides to do is none of my business (outside of my own household), but perhaps some will join me in my own peaceful protest. I’m staying home, eating a simple meal with my family, not investing in the industrial food complex that cashes in on such a harmful cultural myth, and certainly not going out to support commercialism on the day itself nor during Black Friday. I’ll save all the fuss and energy for a holiday that is actually meaningful to me and my spiritual practice. I give gratitude every holiday – I don’t need secular Thanksgiving.
(Although if there’s a nearby peaceful protest on the day itself, I may consider going out to that.)
So what am I doing besides simply boycotting the holiday? Merely saying I won’t celebrate only has so much impact. I already explained that I feel limited in what I actually can do, and I’m sure many can relate to me but want to do something. I decided to donate what I would have spent on Thanksgiving food. A fellow ADFer recommended this collection to help feed Lakota families who are struggling to make ends meet, so I sent some to them. It’s probably a bit late to contribute to that at this point, but there are other options on the site to help Indigenous people. Of course, I highly encourage those who want to help (and who can help monetarily) to make donations to the Water Protectors themselves. They need money for supplies, legal fees, and now medical equipment.