This past year— just with in the environmental community, Indigenous leaders put their lives on the line to fight against the fossil fuel industry, climate change, and protect native lands.
During this month devoted to honoring the contributions of Native communities in the US, millions of American families gather to celebrate a holiday that is rooted in painful day for many Indigenous people. While many have attempted to decolonize the holiday, with land acknowledgments and donations, it begs the question where do we go from here?
Currently spoke with CeeJay Johnson Yellow Hawk an artist auntie who is Dakota Lakota from the Ft. Peck Tribe in Montana as well as Lingít, from Southeast Alaska.
(She noted that she only speaks for herself and that it is important to keep in mind the diversity of Indigenous people in the US and the differing view points of those folks.)
She said that with the Thanksgiving holiday coming up, she understands the desire to preserve a tradition thats deeply engrained within American culture, however she said it is first essential to understand the history of the holiday.
“Thats not really honoring us, thats hurting us.” said CeeJay, “I think that it’s important that a conversation is started and that people actually know the true history of what happened during the first Thanksgiving from the actual people who have that knowledge.”
She said that during Indigenous heritage month, and through out the whole year, non-natives can honor Indigenous people through amplifying their voices, donating money, supporting local Indigenous organizations, conducting land acknowledgements
and supporting Indigenous representation in politics.