Thanksgiving Break is coming soon to campus from Nov. 23 to Nov. 25. Before this time, a few events will take place on campus.
One of those events is “The Real Thanksgiving” held on Nov. 16 from 6:00p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Tyler-Van Dusen Heather Room. The guest speaker, Hannah Bartol, of the Hannahville Indian Community discussed the true history behind Thanksgiving.
In her presentation, she explored the government edition of Thanksgiving, the “real” Thanksgiving, events such as Dakota 38 and answered questions regarding the Native American culture.
Bartol recalled events from the true history of Thanksgiving and what came after.
In 1621, the pilgrims of the Mayflower shared an “autumn feast” followed by a second feast held two years later. During this time, Squanto, a Native American of the Wampanoag Tribe, who held previous unfortunate experiences and grievances with the New Englanders had escaped England from enslavement, Bartol remembered. Once he came back to his land, he decided to befriend the pilgrims and help them cultivate their new plantation in hopes to prevent his people from suffering the same fate as his village.
However, later historical events showed that such things have repeated themselves such as Dakota 38 where a mass execution of Dakota tribe members have taken place. If you want to learn more information on historical events such as Dakota 38, Bartol referred to two books: Saints and Strangers and Dakota 38.
Despite the real history of Thanksgiving, presently Native Americans have commemorated Thanksgiving by doing Ghost Suppers. A time to remember and honor deceased loved ones and relatives through the offering of food and tobacco at a community meal.
Another way of commemorating the day is by fasting four days prior to Thanksgiving. The number four is sacred to the Native American culture as it represents a pattern of many phenomena of life. This includes the four directions, the four times of day as well as their four sacred plants.
Otherwise, the fasting is a “way of being closer to our ancestors, where you have visions or where you seek your answers, seek prayer…sort of what to do next in your life,” said Bartol.
This commemoration is to show that the Native American community will “thrive” despite their history. Other events that have yet to come include the “Turkey Talk with Day Club and ASAP” on Nov. 21 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Tyler-Van Dusen, Heather Room. Here you can join members of Dream Works Day Club from Ithaca and the ASAP program from Alma High School for a potluck lunch followed by arts and crafts.
For those who attend the Chapel, there will be a Thanksgiving service the Sunday that follows Thanksgiving at 7:00 p.m. “I hope that they not only get to experience gratitude, but they realize how many of us are grateful for them. That we are all spoiled because we get to work with you amazing students and our jobs are all because of you. I hope that they feel that on Thanksgiving…they realize how many of us are thankful for you all,” said Senior Chaplain Andrew Pomerville.
All in all, Thanksgiving for both tribal and non-tribal members is a holiday to commemorate and being thankful to the community you surround yourself with. As said in Ojibwe, “Chii Miigwech,” with great thanks.
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