“There is no need to make Thanksgiving about a false past. It is so much better when it celebrates the beauty of the present.” – Chef Sean Sherman
For so long, Indigenous people around the world have modeled the leadership we need as they steward the land, build power, and share knowledge. They are at the forefront of agroecology and food sovereignty movements. And their organizing efforts even turned critical swing states blue in the recent Presidential election. Yet these efforts are often invisible in the mainstream media. This upcoming holiday season, already fraught with tension and trauma, will look a lot different for many of us as Covid-19 numbers rise. We are leaning into these important truths by celebrating Indigenous peoples and decolonizing the stories we tell and the foods we eat. As Real Food Reads author and The Sioux Chef founder Sean Sherman so beautifully puts it:
“No matter where you are in North America, you are on Indigenous land. And so on this holiday, and any day really, I urge people to explore a deeper connection to what are called ‘American’ foods by understanding true Native-American histories, and begin using what grows naturally around us, and to support Native-American growers. There is no need to make Thanksgiving about a false past. It is so much better when it celebrates the beauty of the present.”
In this spirit, we’re excited to co-host tonight’s screening of “Gather: The Fight to Reclaim Our Native Foodways.” The acclaimed documentary follows four people as they navigate their own histories and traumas in the pursuit of food sovereignty for themselves and their communities, and it will be followed by a special panel discussion on Native food sovereignty. We are also participating in a “Week of Indigenous Eating,” facilitated by Native Choctaw scholar, activist, and Real Food Reads author Devon Mihesuah, that challenges Natives (and non-Natives) to consume foods only of this hemisphere. Her Facebook page Indigenous Eating and the recipes in her book Recovering Our Ancestors’ Gardens center pre-contact foods and encourage us to explore the rich Indigenous heritages of this continent.
Join us in unlearning false narratives, exploring our connections to the land, and celebrating the beauty of the present.
In community and solidarity,
Tiffani, Tanya, Christina, and Anna
P.S. Check out Unlearning the History of Thanks-Taking, a list of resources curated by HEAL Food Alliance member i-Collective
Featured image: Jason Redmond/Getty Images for Teen Vogue