Over the last 3 or 4 years I've been more or less tolerating Thanksgiving. Ever since I read Kent Nerburn's book "Neither Wolf nor Dog, On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder", and having spent a fair amount of time investigating native "issues" the whole Thanksgiving thing just doesn't cut it for me. I wouldn't have such a problem with it if we weren't annually subjected to the sanitized version of the First Thanksgiving or if we, as a nation, were to finally stand up and admit to the genocide that we have inflicted on native people. On Thursday there will be people celebrating the bounty of this great land, there will also be a small group of people mourning the loss of their culture and to a great extent their dignity. Let us not forget that many of them couldn't afford a full blown Thanksgiving meal either.
If that wasn't enough, the fact that Thanksgiving just adds to out gluttonous nature as a society is also troublesome to me. Do we really need to be celebrating the fact that we over consume food or that we're an obese nation? The environmental costs of food production are enormous. The United Nations has published a report that shows food production, specifically the livestock industry, produces more greenhouse gasses than does transportation. Those costs don't include the land destruction that takes place to grow feed for livestock or the costs of the added nutrients to our watersheds from animal waste.
So, with all this going against it, why even bother? I do think we should celebrate Thanksgiving. Food is a sacred gift from God and we should be thankful for that. We should celebrate the fact that native cultures still exist and that we can still learn from them. So, Thursday morning I'll get up early, burn a little sweet grass and sage to give thanks for my many native friends, put some free-range chickens in the oven, and chill some salmon-friendly wine from Oregon and be thankful for the opportunity to do so.