Thankstaking 2022

Marcos Aguilar
4 min readNov 24, 2022

As America settles in to yet another Thanksgiving Holiday-Black-Friday-Sale-Extravaganza, some of us still ask ourselves, how are Indigenous American children to understand a holiday which commemorates the betrayal of their ancestors’ generosity? Why do even unitedstatesian American Indian nonprofits continue to push the settler mythology of pilgrims and Indians celebrating native bounty, consciously ignoring the massacres this holiday truly honors?

Instead why not honor the call to recognize this as a uniquely unitedstatesian National Day of Mourning? To learn more visit: Marcos Aguilar and

To indigenous America, gratitude is not a yearly holiday, it is almost universally a daily obligation for Indigenous Peoples, a ubiquitous prerequisite protocol, a solemn sacrament of life. Gratitude and reciprocity are conceptual roots of the laws of the land — sovereign laws. Sovereignty cannot be signed away, it lives in the land and the air we breath. The radical law -the root law- is inalienable from the waters and the fires in the native heart of our continent. Our seeds, tonakayiotl, tlayiohle, toxinaxtin, are the heart of our past, present, and future — totlayiolsintle. Inalienable laws, inalienable rights, inalienable obligations to gratitude are as old as time on this land. When indigenous children are raised with respect, gratitude becomes more than good manners, it is an element of their moral being, tonakayiotl.

Gratitude must be freely given, harmless and sincere. After four hundred years since the first immigrants stumbled, starving upon. the east coast, are the sins of the settler state forgivable? Are they even remembered by the descendants and inheritors of those sins?

Not really.

To Americans, the Thanksgiving holiday has no historical meaning anymore. One should wonder why.

California’s History and Social Studies Framework for public schools explains that, “For a time, Indian nations and European settlers coexisted. Native peoples served as independent traders and mediators. European settlement brought the American Indian population a more diverse selection of food and introduced new tools for hunting and warfare. This coexistence was short-lived, however. Broken treaties, skirmishes, and massacres increasingly came to characterize the relationship between the groups. Students may consider these questions: Why did…

Marcos Aguilar

Born of the desert. Teacher. Learner. Organizer. Dreamer.