Reflections on a Violent Holiday

Author: Katie Howard, President & Strategic Principal 

I have been reflecting a lot this week about my family tree. About the ancestors from both sides of my family who landed at Plymouth Rock, disembarked the Mayflower, and took land that did not belong to them. Who started the systematic annihilation of Indigenous people (which continues today in SO many ways, including data misclassification, under-counting, voter suppression, and so much more).

Look around. Whose land are you sitting on? I grew up on the land of the Ojibwe (Chippewa) people, marshland where wild rice grew everywhere until the land was stolen, the river dammed, and the area logged. Today, I type this post on the land of the Duwamish, a tribe that inhabited the Seattle/King County area for thousands of years. A tribe that STILL DOES NOT HAVE FEDERAL RECOGNITION.

This holiday. Yes, it sounds really beautiful to celebrate gratitude and being thankful. But that is not what this holiday is. This holiday was not built on a foundation of love and light. This holiday is a traumatic symbol of violent colonization and genocide.

The blood of our ancestors runs through us. Today is an opportunity to pay reparations. You can pay directly to Native people, or you can make a donation to a tribe, a tribal organization, or an urban American Indian/Alaska Native organization. In Seattle, four great options are the Duwamish Tribe, Seattle Indian Health Board, Chief Seattle Club, or the Potlatch Fund.

I have linked to the writing of Allen Salway (@lilnativeboy on Instagram and Twitter).