Friday, June 14, 2024



Thanksgiving in 2020: An opportunity to create new Thanksgiving traditions

November 25, 2020 Category: FeaturedMediumPurpose


This guest column was written by Ami Patel Hopkins. It represents her individual opinion and does not represent the viewpoints of organizations with which she is affiliated either professionally or personally.
I want to acknowledge the Lenape People who were the original inhabitants of the land I reside on and who have been caretakers of this land for generations.

I began this article with the practice of land acknowledgement. In some countries, it is common to open meetings by Honoring Native Land. The current unit I am working on with the 5th and 6th grade scientists in the #PHSTEAMGalaxy is titled “Human Impact on Earth Systems.” This week, we connected what we have learned about the Earth’s systems to acknowledging the Native American people and their positive contributions to the land on Earth.

Try stepping outside and standing on land, close your eyes, and imagine if we began to normalize #HonorNativeLand. How do you feel? For me, I feel great joy as I see this as a step on the road to equity and recognition of the Native American people.

On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation, in which he encouraged Americans to observe Thanksgiving: “in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea, and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving…”  Since that time, American families have created Thanksgiving traditions.

Thanksgiving traditions might look different for many American citizens this year as recommendations are being issued at the local, state and federal level due to an increase in COVID-19 cases. I also see this as an opportunity to create new traditions in our family as we embrace a long holiday weekend.

For me, this past year has been a year of grieving, healing, reflecting and creating so the following suggestions for celebrating Thanksgiving this year reflect that:

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Express gratitude

Learn more about Native American Peoples and their contributions to society

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If you have ideas about issues, policies, and/or perspectives that I should highlight in this column, please complete this submission form. My column focus areas will prioritize submission ideas. The dialogue can be continued at EdSpace. 

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