Going Native: My Sustainable Un-Thanksgiving

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 7.07.31 PMGoing Native: My Sustainable Un-Thanksgiving (Week #45)

The WHAT, WHY and HOW:

I’m not opposed to celebrating our families and community by taking a few days off from our modern hectic lives and relaxing in gratitude for what we have. Yet, how many of us really think about or question the mythology of the fraudulent story that is a beloved American holiday, “Thanksgiving”.

Instead of publicly stating that I was uncomfortable with the European barbarism, the conquest of our continent and the genocide of my ancestors, I would sit at Thanksgiving tables of family and friends for decades and stuff my moral response to injustice and inequality down my throat along with every delicious bite from the table.

My mission, as this sustainable non-profit’s founder, is to inspire you to embrace better sustainable practices economically, culturally, socially and environmentally. Making responsible choices reduces your carbon footprint, grows community, and saves you time and money. That motivation has enabled our students, tour, conference and workshop attendees, to customize and design their own freer, simpler and healthier lifestyles.

My parents, rest their souls, were never able to give me in my youth an answer as to why we, as Americans, celebrate holidays in such a consumeristic way. In their generation, the corporations invented “planned obsolescence” and “manufactured consent” for profit only. There are countless examples of fabulous products and great design that were squashed by corporate purchases that never made it to market. So those few that have all the money and power continue to cull profits from all of us until we no longer have anything to give or the energy or health to work.

In my opinion this is a daily act of violence against each of us as American citizens. We eat manufactured GMO food, we are pummeled with ads for products we neither want or need. We are taxed and regulated so heavily that even some of us Americans who purchase our own land cannot legally collect water that drops onto it, nor build a small home on it powered by renewables with our own composting system unless the more wasteful fossil fuel grid and local water source connections are forced upon us.

The American Dream, for me, ended years ago. You can read all about it in the e-book I recently released “Living the Sustainable Tiny Life”.

I celebrate unthanksgiving. This does not mean I am ungrateful, that I do not still love my family and friends, I just choose to disconnect from the holiday collective denial of Americans celebrating European conquest and genocide. Years ago I decided to disengage and explain why to all the people who invited me to there “Thanksgiving” events. I’m sure I will alienate some; however, this is a conscious choice. Yours might be different.

First “Unthanksgiving” at Alcatraz 1969 via IndianCountryTodayMediaNetwork


Here’s the thing, once you know the facts about something, what do you do?

The moral response is truth and reconciliationWhat do we do in a world that is not yet ready to know or knows and won’t deal with the consequences of that knowledge? Sound familiar? (As in climate change.)

You either engage or disengage. 

All these questions brought me back to why I founded Terrabluteams.org. How do we change human behavior in order to become more sustainable citizens? I’ve moved past what was referred to as the “sustainability imperative” in 2010 and believe the solution to climate change and the world’s quickly diminishing resources has become a moral imperative” I pursue, practice and inspire in others daily. The building of my zero-waste off-grid house/sustainable education module will be completed this year and will begin its sustainable lifestyle workshop tour next Spring.

And by sustainable I mean, how do we responsibly make cultural, economic, social and environmental choices?

The answer, although simple, is difficult to put into practice: Speak honestly and often, make informed choices, resist conventional wisdom, reject cultural amnesia, and refuse to be polite when it means surrendering to lies. After a decade of not succumbing to the typical holiday consumptive practices, I can assure you, I am a much happier person to have so much LESS STUFF. Instead I invest in experiences, relationships and community.

How will I un-celebrate Thanksgiving? I will take a long walk in nature, meditate on my choice and the choices others have made, practice non-violence towards others, be mindful and eat a meal of organic vegan food from my garden and other local gardens.

I will miss some friends and family, sure. But this year, like many others, I’ll let the parades, the Black Friday craziness, the social media madness, pass me by.

This week’s practice is to be mindful of your choice to engage or disengage “once you know”. Do the math, find your own facts, connect the dots, and re-calibrate your sustainable compass. Be a fountain, not a drain.

Please send us your comments and feedback!

The Deep Dive:

Unthanksgiving Day

Last year’s Unthanksgiving Day of Indigenous Peoples Sunrise Gathering at Alcatraz

The National Day of Mourning overlooking Plymouth Rock

UnThanksgiving Vegetarian Menu from last year’s Holiday

29 Vegan Recipes for Thanksgiving

44 Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes

1 thought on “Going Native: My Sustainable Un-Thanksgiving

  1. Thank you for suggesting to think about the history behind “Thanksgiving” – many forget all about it quite happily.
    A comment about your link to http://math.350.org/: It is imperative to persuade institutional investors to divest from fossil fuels, there is no doubt about it. But lets be mindful where they should reinvest.
    For instance, palm oil is considered a “renewable energy source” (a third of the one million tons of palm oil imported to Germany annually burns in “climate friendly” power plants and a big part of the reminder is used as “bio fuel”).Thus reinvestment in renewable energy may leads to investment in palm oil equities – despite its dire consequences for the climate. It is crazy: we try to reduce the fossil fuel usage to curb climate change by deforestation (boosting climate change) and long-distance transportation (using plenty of fossil fuels)?
    This proves that there is no easy solution…

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