As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, many Americans are feeling excitement over the time off from work or school, the gathering of family and/or friends, the large amounts of food to be cooked and then eaten, and, of course, the shopping deals one can find as early as midnight on Friday morning. Tables and windows may be decorated with Pilgrim hats, Indian headdresses, and cornucopia, and memories from public school U.S. history courses may come to mind, of Pilgrims and Indians sitting together and giving thanks, and of subsequent epic battles fought between the two populations during the turbulent Wild West period.
But for many other Americans, this holiday serves as an unwelcome memory to the trauma their ancestors endured as a foreign population inhabited their lands and committed acts of violence against them. The U.S.'s past discriminatory and, to many, genocidal policies and actions have caused Native American families to continue to be impacted by the trauma felt by their ancestors, despite current U.S. policies proclaiming the rights and sovereignty of Native people and tribes.
As a child welfare advocate, it is important to understand historical trauma and its effects on Native American families. Therefore, I urge you to take time over the long holiday weekend to become more aware of the "Indian" side to the "Pilgrims and Indians" story.
See our previous blog posts on Indian Child Welfare.
- Existing laws relevant to Native populations, compiled by NICWA
- The History of Federal Indian Policy by Robert J. Miller, Professor, Lewis & Clark Law School, Portland, Oregon
- The Indian Removal Act of 1830
- Indian Affairs: Laws & Treaties, compiled and edited by Charles J. Kappler
- Historical Trauma (from a professor's online syllabus) by Professor Janis (Jan) Johnson, PhD
- Brief history of U.S.-Tribal relations from American Indian Policy Center