In MacLeans, Christine Sismondo also argues “The odd, complicated history of Canadian Thanksgiving”:
… [A]n 1890 feature in the Globe and Mail lament[ed] the slow death of the seven-day ritual of Thanksgiving feasts central to the Haudenosaunee culture, which was waning as a result of the increasing numbers of “Christianized Indians” who no longer took part in these “pagan” customs. That writer observed that these Thanksgiving feasts, which involved religious observance, visiting each other’s houses, feasting and war dances, had been in existence from the time the Haudenosaunee Confederacy was first organized—a vague reference at the time that is still the subject of some debate, but thought to pre-date the Frobisher exploration by at least a century.
This, of course, alludes to the thing that so many people seem willfully blind to in the debate about who had Thanksgiving-style gatherings first: that they were well-established long before Europeans ever got here. Specific rituals differ from region to region, of course, but festivals that saw people expressing thanks for the bounty of the land are a common feature of most pre-contact societies in Canada and the United States…
And, of course, in a lot of other global farming cultures as well. The European groups that settled Canada mostly held them around St. Martin’s Day, November 11th — but in Canada, harvest finishes up a lot sooner than it usually would in France or Germany.
Apart from that (and those lucky few Americans enjoying a three-day weekend), what’s on the agenda as we start another week?
Then there’s the more problematic holiday Americans of my generation used to celebrate with parades…
Here Are The Cities That Celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day Instead of Columbus Day https://t.co/mh5o5cOyod
— Ruth H. Hopkins (@RuthHHopkins) October 9, 2017
… While the United Nations declared August 9 as International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples in late 1994, Berkeley, Calif., had already become the first city in the U.S. to replace Columbus Day itself. The city’s decision was influenced by the First Continental Conference on 500 Years of Indian Resistance in Quito, Ecuador, in 1990, which spurred another Northern California conference that discussed similar issues and brought them to the Berkeley City Council, TIME has reported.
With the exception of Santa Cruz, Calif., and the state of South Dakota, which adopted the similar Native American Day in place of Columbus Day in 1990, the cities, states and universities that have chosen to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day instead have done so only recently, with cities like Minneapolis and Seattle voting to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day instead in 2014…
Holidays change because the people celebrating them do, at least in small parochial ways. In the mostly-immigrant Bronx neighborhood of my childhood, the St. Patricks Day parade was considered a celebration of Irish-American survival against nativist prejudice (c.f. also Boston’s Evacuation Day)… and the Columbus Day parade as its Italian-American equivalent. Even the most hardcore parochialists, especially those working for the government, had no problem whatever taking a paid day off for both!
1. Here’s the thing about Columbus Day—it first landed on our civic calendar as a celebration of American pluralism: https://t.co/84V17rEBmG
— Yoni Appelbaum (@YAppelbaum) October 8, 2017