Valerie Abrahamsen, Th.D.

Giving thanks, with full understanding

Thanksgiving has long been overlaid with a certain level of mythology, especially concerning the relationship between European colonists and Native peoples

We in the United States have seen a long, tragic pandemic, we have just come through an election season, and in the past few years we have seen a reawakening of racial justice activism.

What, in this challenging age, can we Americans preserve from our traditional Thanksgiving traditions, and what can/should we learn from new data around us - not only for our own spiritual growth, perhaps, but also for the common good?

As many of us have come to learn, the history of our beloved country is fraught with wrongdoings. If our own ancestors are white and can be traced for several centuries in this land, we have reaped the benefits of the enslavement of Africans and the labor of their descendants; tragically, we have also reaped the benefits of the exploitation and genocide of millions of Native Americans, most especially by taking their land and making it our own.

While we need not feel personally guilty about atrocities committed by people who died generations ago, we must take responsibility for the current situation, especially the situation in which people of color still find themselves at a distinct disadvantage in our society in many ways.

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