Indigenous Elder Speaks on the Reality of Thanksgiving

Minneapolis, MN – Thanksgiving Day is framed as a time to connect with family, yet the roots of the holiday come from the massacres of Indigenous people in the U.S.

We sat down with Wanbli Máyašleča, an artist, healer, teacher, and Native American elder to hear his perspectives on Thanksgiving.

Some of our people call this Thankstaking Day. There’s no give-and-take. There’s no reciprocity. So if this country ever could face its own misdeeds, take responsibility for its bad history here or all over the world now, that’s the first step in peace-taking to acknowledge the wrong.

Wanbli Máyašleča

The “bad history” of this national holiday is that in 1637, as the Pequot tribe gathered for their annual Green Corn Dance ceremony, English and Dutch mercenaries attacked and surrounded the village; burning down everything and shooting whomever tried to escape.

The next day the Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony declared: “A day of Thanksgiving, thanking God that they had eliminated over 700 men, women and children.”

Continue to follow Unicorn Riot for future reports on Wanbli and his experiences in boarding schools, becoming a healer and an artist and his lifeways teachings.

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