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An Indigenous Thanksgiving.


It's that time of year again that spooks all the turkeys out there, the poultry variety that is. For the record it's not a traditional Canadian holiday, but something we adopted from our American friends. There is a written history of why we celebrate this, although it is not very accurate. It likely needs to be completely re written, much like most of history. Today, I would like to look at this history, and also discuss our history and some of the foods that identify as Indigenous Canadian.


HISTORICAL TRUTHS

As the story goes, friendly local Native Americans swooped in to teach the struggling colonists how to survive in the New World. Then everyone got together to celebrate with a feast in 1621. This is the textbook version of events, Canada's story is similar. The bash lasted three days and featured a menu including deer, fowl, and corn.

In reality, Thanksgiving feasts predate Plymouth — numerous localities have tried to claim the first Thanksgiving for themselves. And the peace brokered at Plymouth didn't last long.

The real story behind the holiday is so dark, in fact, that some people are rethinking how they celebrate the holiday, or whether they should at all. Others pinpoint 1637 as the true origin of Thanksgiving, owing to the fact that the Massachusetts colony governor John Winthrop declared a day to celebrate colonial soldiers who had just slaughtered hundreds of Pequot men, women, and children in what is now Mystic, Connecticut.

Regardless, the popular telling of the initial harvest festival is what lived on, thanks to Abraham Lincoln.

The enduring holiday has also nearly erased from our collective memory what happened between the Wampanoag and the English a generation later. Please read on here for the rest of the story; https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/thanksgiving-myth-and-what-we-should-be-teaching-kids-180973655/


CANADIAN HISTORY

We would like to think that our history differs from the American story, unfortunately it's not that much different. With the revelation of resent events surrounding the residential schools, we know the real story. And it wasn't pretty. The definition of “myth”, according to the Oxford Canadian Dictionary, is “a widely held but false notion.” When it comes to the topic of Indigenous Peoples there are many widely held but false notions or myths. Myths about Indigenous Peoples are varied but many have the common theme that Indigenous Peoples “have it easy” compared to non-Indigenous Canadians. here is a list of the myths still held by some people as truths;

  1. Indigenous Peoples get a “free ride”

  2. Indians have ample reserve lands

  3. Indians can do what they want with their reserve lands and resources

  4. Indigenous Peoples living on reserves get free housing

  5. Indigenous Peoples get a free secondary education

  6. There’s no connection between Indigenous unemployment and Indigenous health and social problems

  7. Indigenous Peoples don’t pay taxes in Canada

  8. Indigenous Peoples are all the same

  9. Residential schools are ancient history

  10. The myth of the vanishing Indian

I don't want to rain on everybody's parade, so I invite you to take the time to do a little research on your own. We can still celebrate, but we should also remember and acknowledge the truth.


A LITTLE ABOUT THE FOOD

Canadian cuisine varies widely depending on the regions of the nation. The four earliest cuisines of Canada have indigenous, English, Scottish and French roots. The traditional cuisine of English Canada is closely related to British cuisine.

The traditional Indigenous cuisine of Canada was based on a mixture of wild game, foraged foods, and farmed agricultural products. Each region of Canada with its own First Nations and Inuit people used their local resources and own food preparation techniques for their cuisines. Maple syrup was first collected and used by aboriginal people of Eastern Canada and North Eastern US. Canada is the world's largest producer of maple syrup. The origins of maple syrup production are not clear though the first syrups were made by repeatedly freezing the collected maple sap and removing the ice to concentrate the sugar in the remaining sap. Maple syrup is one of the most commonly consumed Canadian foods of Aboriginal origins.


Of course the maple leaf and syrup are pretty much the "IDENTITY" of Canada. We can thank the indigenous people for this, and many other things. For example saving the lives of the first settlers to Canada, they would have perished if not for our native friends. But it doesn't end there. They introduced us to there way of living, hunting and survival in Gods country. A fine favour we did them in return! In addition to maple syrup, we discovered many techniques in food preparation that are still used to this day. Things like drying, curing and preserving meats, vegetables and fruits. Who knew?

I'm including a recipe for bannock, although not entirely an native dish, more of a collaboration between the indigenous people and the Scottish.


bannock
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Happy Thanksgiving to all my loyal followers! Remember to give thanks, be kind and show a little gratitude for what you have! Cheers!

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