24 November 2004

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. I, for one, know that I have a lot to be thankful for.

In honor of the day, I'd like to solicit some insight about a mystery that I have wondered about for some time.

I see Thanksgiving as a food-oriented holiday, and I'm comfortable with that, in spite of the creepy mythos of the holiday's origins. Eliminating Thanksgiving is a level of cultural reconstructive surgery that I'm not prepared to undertake, but I do think that all Americans need to acknowledge the problems in the "Squanto brings maize" myth. So I gather that Native Americans don't feel so charitably about the holiday, and I certainly respect that.

Among American Jews, it's a great legendary pseudo-tradition to go out to dinner at a Chinese restaraunt on Christmas Day. You have the day off from work, no other place is open, you don't celebrate the holiday, and everyone knows that pork is kosher if it comes in the form of pork fried rice. It's not actually something we ever did in my family; in a great show of Jewish-Catholic syncreticism, we kinda figured that more holidays equals more fun, an attitude which I have retained. But it's a well-known practice, and here in San Francisco it's commemorated by Kung Pao Kosher Comedy night, a revue of Jewish comics performing at Christmas in a Chinese restaraunt.

So I wonder: is there a Native American equivalent on Thanksgiving? Are all of the SF Native Americans over at Café Bastille right now, partying with the European expats? I hope that folks who have good reasons to feel uncomfortable with Turkey Day are doing something fun to reclaim the holiday for their own purposes.

Does someone in my vast reader population know?


Anonymous said...

For many years there has been the ceremony at Alcatraz on Thanksgiving morning. Folks show up eaaarrrrllly, take a ferry over and participate. The one year I went, it was in tandem with a food drive for Big Mountain - not sure if they are still doing that aspect of it, but the Alcatraz ceremony itself continues.

- Yezida

Jonathan Korman said...

Aha! I knew someone would know!

Anonymous said...

2006 i want to go to ceremony on alcatraz for 'black thursday' this year - and got this on my google search.THANX! maureen- mohawk, back in the bay area after 33 years in the sierra in Maidu country.