How to honor and respect Native American culture this Thanksgiving 

This Thanksgiving, we encourage you to see the Holiday through a Native perspective. While many of us learned that the first Thanksgiving included a joyful, peaceful meal between Native people and pilgrims, that isn’t the case at all.   

In reality, the assembly of the Wampanoag people and English settlers in 1621 was less about a friendly celebration and meal and more about political alliances and diplomacy. The Wampanoag people shared their knowledge of the land and environment with the English settlers and made treaties with them. In spite of their agreements, the English continued to spread illness, encroach on Native land and attack Native people and their resources.  

It’s important to remember that Native people celebrate Thanksgiving in different ways. Some tribes view Thanksgiving as a day of mourning and loss. Many others still celebrate a tradition of sharing a meal, praying and giving thanks on this holiday.   

Below we’ve listed a few ways you can celebrate mindfully while celebrating and respecting Indigenous culture.  

Learn about the land you’re living on  
One of the first things we encourage you to do is learn about the land you’re currently living on and its past inhabitants. You can use this handy tool to learn more about the history of the land you’re residing on. 

Teach children about the true first Thanksgiving 
The internet is full of great resources to learn more about the true history of the first Thanksgiving. To get started, we recommend this article from the Smithsonian. The children’s book “Keepunumuk: Weeâchumun’s Thanksgiving Story” is also a great way to help little ones understand the history of the holiday. 

Make an indigenous meal  
Spend quality family time together and make a delicious recipe using indigenous ingredients! We recommend trying bison meatloaf, three sisters rice bowls or homemade salsa. Visit our recipe section of our website for inspiration! 

Boost indigenous voices  
Are you traveling or driving this Thanksgiving? Listen to an indigenous podcast to educate, inspire and connect with Native culture. If you’re not sure where to start, we highlighted some of our favorites in a past blog post

Support Native-owned businesses 
This Holiday season, support a Native-owned business. You can start right here at for non-perishable food, health and wellness items. You can utilize this directory to find even more Indigenous products from clothing, to jewelry, to home décor and beyond. 

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