World News – USA – 6 books that reflect on Thanksgiving – its meanings and its many contradictions


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There’s no denying that this holiday season in America will be one of the most chaotic and potentially dangerous months in the country, with COVID-19 still spiraling out of control. As recommended by the CDC, this year many people have chosen not to see their families in person for Thanksgiving in order to safely take shelter at home. Here are six informative books about the vacation that are either informative about its true origins or remind you how hectic and stressful it can be to watch your family.

This novel is not a historical account of the history of Thanksgiving, but it is a welcome and invigorating reminder of how bad things can get among family members in times of fellowship and gratitude for what has been given has been. The Ice Storm tells the story of a group of miserable and horny suburban Connecticut adults on Thanksgiving weekend 1973: there are affairs, alcoholism is rampant, and children are exposed to the traumatic follies of their elders. This book is perfect for anyone who is resentful about missing their families because it reminds you that sometimes it can be as bad to be with your family as it is without them.

For something more lighthearted and lyrical, this book of poems includes reflections on this very American holiday by members of the Osage and Navajo nations and poets like Valerie Worth and David McCord. Additionally, this compilation also includes silly dishes like poetry about a little girl at a Thanksgiving table whose only focus in the world is on what she gets for dessert. To be honest, relatable.

The Thanksgiving stories we were taught in elementary school were, by and large, a very disingenuous patina that gave a pinkish tinge to what actually went down. This book, a photo essay that takes the reader through the actual three-day harvest in 1621 that began the centuries-old traditional food of this land, seeks to correct the record. The book also seeks to fully educate people about the Wampanoag, whose extraordinary knowledge of the land and innovative life strategies were adopted by the settlers of the Plymouth Colony.

It is arguably as important to know who the pilgrims really were as to understand the Native Americans, whose lives forever became a national tradition en route to Thanksgiving. This book takes readers through the history of those who formed the Church of England in the 17th and 18th centuries. Wanted to break free in the 20th century in favor of self-determination and were crazy and determined enough to move to an entirely new and unsafe continent around the world. The author draws on primary sources such as the pilgrim magazines to reinterpret the story so many people consider perfectly familiar.

In The Thanksgiving Play, a group of awake but unsuspecting white artists attempt to cobble together a Thanksgiving pageant that also celebrates Native American Heritage Month and is quickly confronted with the vast extent of their own ignorance. White is a facet of Thanksgiving that, frankly, is rarely queried, and this piece attempts to chop off a giant monolith. What Would Crazy Horse Do? This is followed by two members of the Marahotah clan who, desperate to live on a reservation, sign a suicide pact. For Americans, it means to reckon with our history, to familiarize yourself with how terrible together we made life for some.

Finally, Thank You: A Native American Good Morning Message contains Native American tradition statements written by Native Americans in New York and Canada. In particular, you will be guided through the Thanksgiving address, which is still spoken regularly at ceremonies of the tribes of the Iroquois and the Six Nations. The most important thing we can do to honor Native American history is to educate ourselves and future generations.

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Thanksgiving, Mayflower, Pilgrim

World News – USA – 6 books that reflect on Thanksgiving – its meanings and its many contradictions
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