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Thanksgiving myth gets a makeover this year

Christian Taylor-Johnson, 28, is a descendant of the Ojibwe band of Leech Lake in northern Minnesota and attended Leech Lake Tribal College. He said the education he received was not accessible to older parents, who were forced to assimilate and forbidden to speak their mother tongue.

“I actually speak more Ojibwa than either of my parents,” Taylor-Johnson said.

Mr Taylor-Johnson said his family’s Thanksgiving traditionally features dishes like turkey, wild rice, fried bread, and green bean casserole, his favorite dish. In recent years, he has encouraged family members to use the holiday to recognize the plight of their ancestors.

“Last year we called it Takesgiving,” he said.

Intergenerational education also occurs in non-Native American households. Alice Julier, director of the Center for Regional Agriculture, Food and Transformation at the University of Chatham, Pittsburgh, has incorporated Native American history into her teaching for almost 30 years.

She said there was a term used in academic circles to describe what happens when students like hers bring new knowledge home for the holidays: the Thanksgiving Massacre.

“You come home armed with this information about how the world works,” said Dr Julier, “then you come back to your teachers and say, ‘Well, that didn’t go well. “”

Indigenous studies are increasingly popular in academia, especially among researchers whose work, as Dr. Julier does, lies at the intersection of food, race, class and gender. .

Hiʻilei Julia Hobart, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin, said current events made it easier for students to see the shared heritage of African Americans, many of whose slave ancestors were forced to working on land stolen from Native Americans, agricultural know-how was also co-opted.