University invites students to 'Decolonize your Thanksgiving'

Students at Indiana University of Pennsylvania will be celebrating Thanksgiving this year by “decolonizing” the holiday and eating “decolonial” indigenous cuisine.

The event will feature a speech from a “social justice” and “LGBTQ2” expert.

A Pennsylvania University is hosting an event aimed to both “decolonize” Thanksgiving and educate students about the “myths of Thanksgiving,” along with serving “decolonial cuisine” on campus.

Students at Indiana University of Pennsylvania are invited to “Decolonize Thanksgiving” on Thursday, at a table hosted by IUP’s Native American Awareness Council and sponsored by the school’s Social Equity and Title IX office. The function encourages students to “Decolonize your Thanksgiving” and to “go beyond the harmful ‘pilgrims and Indians’ narrative” of the first Thanksgiving.

The event is part of the Native American Awareness Council’s celebration of National Native American Heritage Month on IUP’s campus.

“Stories told about the first Thanksgiving often perpetuate harmful stereotypes and racism,” the event page asserts. 

[RELATED: UPenn students mark Thanksgiving with talk on ‘racism,’ ‘strained’ US history]

The event description also encourages students and faculty to “focus on common values: generosity, gratitude, community, and good food,” rather than the “harmful” themes of “pilgrims and Indians.”

“There will be copies of ‘The suppressed speech of Wamsutta James,’” Abigail Adams, the chairperson for IUP’s Native American Awareness Council, told Campus Reform. “We have a poster that addresses the ‘myth of thanksgiving’ with quotes from Native scholars and activists,” she added.

Adams also stated that Carrie House, a two-spirit Navajo scholar who had hosted a lecture on campus in 2017 about Native “Two-Spirits” and is labeled as a “presenter of social justice, LGBTQ2, and cultural and environmental issues,” will also be at the table to “offer the Native perspective of Thanksgiving.”

[RELATED: Thanksgiving a ‘celebration’ of ‘genocide,’ say campus groups]

In addition, the NAAC, Social Equity and Title IX office will hold a concurrent event throughout the week titled the “Decolonial Cuisine” celebration that is described as a “culinary movement honoring the heritage of Indigenous America through their foodways and dietary choices.”

Campus Reform also reached out to the IUP College Republicans chapter, who did not respond in time for publication, and the Social Equity office which redirected inquiries to the NAAC chapter on campus.

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