Don’t get me wrong folks, I enjoy spending time with my family as much as the next Canadian, but I feel obligated to inform and remind you that just like many other holidays we enjoy and take for granted, this creative ritual is not one so simple as simply moving into a land of plenty and prospering.
Thanksgiving just might be akin to celebrating the Holocaust. Well, if you’re an American especially.
Yeah, I went a little dark with this one dear readers.
But for so many reasons that I cannot even begin to name, Thanksgiving is effectively an American holiday and we Canadians decided to ride the gravy train (read: intentional bad pun) right along with them in 1879, a mere 12 years after Canadians became self-governing.
Americans have been celebrating this event for over 200 years now, and yet the more time passes the less people realize how incredibly fucked up it is to partake in this event.
Now I know that we have the holiday because we are hoping to share in the harvest, count our blessings, and thank others for what they bring to the table (read: another intentional bad pun), it’s dangerous for us to forget what preceded this state. Because humanity is about caring for and supporting the collective, not just picking and choosing what makes sense in a particular moment.
Of course I’m not so naive as to admit that I understand the complete scope and scale of what happened in North America in previous centuries, however, I do know this – when we celebrate the holiday, we should focus on participating in Thanksgiving as a way to honour community and the lives of Native peoples who welcomed immigrants into their lands. However individuals and governments chose to exploit individuals, we cannot know that all European immigrants were evil, nor can we proclaim that all Native peoples were innocent in how things shook out, because of our lack of context. But, we can be thankful in Canada that many people continue to immigrate into this country and our government is always working towards a future that is rather multi-cultural, a celebration of humanity.
That is what we should give thanks for. That opportunity for those who come into this country exists, and my hope is that the next generation is even less tolerant of disparity amongst new citizens.
And God do I ever hope that’s not just a theory.