This past weekend up in Canada, it was Thanksgiving. I like Thanksgiving for a few reasons: an extra day off from school, time to spend with my family, delicious food to eat, and a new season to celebrate. Though I have much to appreciate about the holiday, it is also a time to acknowledge its roots. The land I live, work, and eat on/from is the unceded territory of the Coast Salish First Nations. This is why, although it is good to honour what you are grateful for, it is also important to address the colonial history of this day and to maybe try to alter our thinking around it.
I’ve heard and seen more than a few people refer to this day as Indigenous Peoples day. Canadian Thanksgiving falls around the same time as Columbus day in the United States so it can be difficult to differentiate which day is being renamed but I think it is important for both to be recognised as a product of colonialism.
I, like many others, like to think of Thanksgiving as a harvest festival. Autumn has arrived and with the changing of seasons comes a bounty of food. I like to acknowledge what I’m grateful for while indulging in a seasonally appropriate meal and savouring the time I have with my family. Here are a few of the many things I am grateful for this year.
The land that I live on and the safety it provides
My family, my friends
My ability to read, write, create
The food I am able to eat, the food producers of Vancouver Island, the land from which the food grows
The Youth Food Network and the platform it provides me with, to share my love of food and community with a greater audience.
To me holidays are about food. While Thanksgiving is on the colonialist side of the spectrum it has something in common with Indigenous culture: food. This post by @wildfoodlove on Instagram I feel perfectly illustrates my thoughts on the matter.
Remember to acknowledge the land you live on, be grateful for what you have, eat good food, and spread love as much as possible.
Jake - Youth Co-coordinator for the Youth Food Network