SPOKANE, Wash. — As people all over the country are gathering together to spend time with friends and family for the Thanksgiving holiday, members of the Spokane Tribe are doing the same, gathering together to enjoy good food and company, just for a different reason.
“You know, traditionally, Thanksgiving is not a day of celebration for Native Americans, said Monica Tonasket, of the Spokane Tribal Business Council. “But for us, we still celebrate family. So instead of, I guess, dwelling on the negative aspects of what Thanksgiving really means, we have to change that perspective. And so, for me, the concept of family and togetherness, and celebrating each other is how we celebrate that day.”
According to The History Channel, “In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit.”
However many Indigenous tribes, scholars and historians don’t believe that the relationship between the groups was a completely peaceful one, even leading some groups to hold protests on Thanksgiving, calling it a National Day of Mourning.
In spite of this, in more recent years, some tribal members will gather together on the day.
“Thanksgiving is just as similar to our kids is birthday parties,” said Tonasket.
And there’s still turkey on the table for dinner.
“My dad loves to make the turkey he just so we still have turkey,” said Tonasket. “It's really two days a year that we have turkey, usually Thanksgiving and Christmas time.”
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