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This week
Maybe you've seen one of the tweets about how, this year, Thanksgiving returned to its roots as a holiday defined by disease and disregard for others. It's becoming more common to address the inaccuracies of the rosy "First Thanksgiving" story, and to note that when settlers from Europe came to what is now the United States, they brought diseases and perpetrated violence that decimated the people who were already living here. But this isn't new: For the past 50 Thanksgivings, the United American Indians of New England has hosted a national day of mourning while much of the country is brining turkey and watching football.

If you've been to a public event in Australia or Canada in recent years, chances are you've heard an acknowledgment of country statement. Sometimes called a "welcome to country," it's a practice of acknowledging the indigenous nations who are the original inhabitants of the land on which the event is taking place. We make a statement like this at the beginning of our CYG live shows. And I've personally appreciated the practice as a prompt to consult the Native Land database and learn about the people who are from a place I am merely visiting. 

But these statements are debated—and in many cases seem to be more appreciated by the people they serve to educate than by those they acknowledge. This TikTok by Kairyn Potts sums up the critique pretty well: All talk, no action.

So rather than just acknowledge that today is Native American Heritage Day and this newsletter is sent from Kizh, Tongva, and Chumash land, I'll also be: Asking my representatives to stand with the Apache people to protect holy land from mining. Donating to Seeding Sovereignty, which is hosting mask drives and has a care fund for Native communities deeply affected by COVID. And recommitting myself to linking to more work by Native writers.

I'm reading
"Americans didn’t care about Thanksgiving until Abraham Lincoln kind of breathed life back into it in order to mend the nation during the Civil War." A Native woman on what you can do instead of a traditional Thanksgiving celebration. What if instead of calling people out we called them in? On peripersonal space and how close is too close. The gaping generational wealth gap and socialist millennial heirs. How the pandemic is reshaping spending habitsChildren of the quar. Congresswoman-elect Cori Bush on thrift shopping like a pro. Oomba was a startup designed to make a lot of money from the games industry—instead, everyone played each other. Scotland is the first nation to offer free menstrual products to everyone who needs them. Covid's toll on Filipinx American nurses. "My gender exists whether you acknowledge it or not." The 28-year-old, little-known British actress at the center of multiple Hollywood scandals. On people who borrow things from friends and never return them. The escapism of Zillow surfing. Everything you already forgot about 2020.

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I’m looking & listening
Seth Cardinal Dodginghorse cuts off his braids in protest of a new road being built through Tsuut'ina land in southwest Calgary. Merritt Johnson's intersectional seed baskets. Wendy Red Star's Apsáalooke Feminist portraits. The PBS documentary Native Art Now! On CYG, we're talking comfort, nourishment, and food justice with Ebony Derr of The Okra Project, an organization that feeds Black trans people. 


I endorse
Amazon workers are striking today in 12 countries. I endorse refraining from the Bezos behemoth altogether today, and, on all days, at least pausing before buying something on Amazon and searching for it elsewhere first. I keep a list of alternatives in the notes app of my phone. for books, Sweetwater for podcasting gear, for pantry staples, local boutiques for gifts. It's helpful to have a personal directory.

Coming up: Big Friendship events with some incredible writers:

Dec 7 - In conversation with Ashley C. Ford, 7pm EST
Dec 16 - In conversation with Rebecca Traister, 8pm EST

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