NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, October 14th, 2019

It’s a two-for-one holiday: Happy Canadian Thanksgiving and Indigenous Peoples Day!

Today, our team at NPI is observing two holidays: Canadian Thanksgiving and Indigenous Peoples Day, both of which fall on the second Monday in October.

Thanksgiving, which is a quintessial North American holiday, has been celebrated in October in Canada for more than half a century. In 1957, Governor General Vincent Massey proclaimed that Thanksgiving ought to be observed on the second Monday of the tenth month of the year, and the date stuck.

Canadian Thanksgiving celebrates the autumn harvest and affords Canadians an opportunity to give thanks for the blessings they have enjoyed during the year.

“Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate the abundance of the fall harvest with family and friends, and in our communities,” noted British Columbia Premier John Horgan in a statement provided to the Northwest Progressive Institute.

“It’s when we come together and are thankful for the many blessings in our lives. It is also a time to reflect on, and help, those in need.”

“Our government is putting people first and working hard to make sure no one gets left behind. From delivering affordable housing and child care, to expanding access to education and training, we are working every day to provide opportunities for all British Columbians.

“British Columbians are generous by nature. It’s a part of who we are. Thank you to every person around B.C. who has volunteered at a community kitchen or made a donation to their local food bank this weekend. You’ve helped make your community a stronger and more welcoming place.

“To everyone celebrating throughout the province, have a happy Thanksgiving!”

Canadian Thanksgiving

A Canadian Thanksgiving centerpiece (Photo: Christopher Porter, reproduced under a Creative Commons license)

Canadian Thanksgiving is not a holiday recognized by the United States government, but that doesn’t mean Americans can’t keep it. If you ask us, the only thing better than Thanksgiving is two Thanksgivings! Every day is a good day to give thanks and enjoy a good meal in the company of family and friends.

Today, we are also celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day, which is recognized by many jurisdictions in the United States in place of Columbus Day.

“Washingtonians do not support the genocidal legacy of Christopher Columbus,” noted Evergreen State Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski in a message to Democratic activists. She elaborated: “Our state has a rich history of indigenous cultures, and to observe today’s holiday is disrespectful to the Native lives that were lost after Columbus’ arrival in North America.”

“We should remain constant allies to our state’s indigenous people — which, to me, means being intentional about condemning Columbus for ruthlessly destroying indigenous populations in the south.”

“That’s why I hope that you will join me and our state party in celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day. We need to honor Native Americans, both here in Washington and across the country, today and every day.”

Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz agreed with that sentiment.

“In commemoration of this sacred day, let us honor the tribes that call Washington home and recognize their immeasurable contributions to our state,” Franz said in a statement. “As the leader of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, I am proud to work alongside our state’s First Peoples to strengthen our forests and waters and protect precious species.”

“By taking care of our landscapes and waterways, we help ensure that First Peoples are able to continue cultural customs and traditions that have been passed down through generations.”

Today is a great day to learn about the history of Washington’s first peoples. Did you know there are a dozen tribal museums in Washington? Find the closest one to you by visiting the website of Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs.

And, at the Washington Tribes website, you can learn more about each of the federally recognized tribal communities that have called this region home since time immemorial. There are more than two dozen:

Washington state is home to twenty-nine federally-recognized Indian tribes. Tribal governments are improving people’s lives, Indian and non-Indian alike, in communities from Neah Bay to Usk.

Revenue from gaming and other tribal enterprises is tax revenue for tribal governments. The money is used to create jobs and business opportunities for all Washingtonians.

It helps pay for housing, health care, public safety, environmental/natural resource programs and transportation.

As tribal gaming money flows through the Washington economy, it generates hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues for local and state government. Tribal governments and their enterprises are a major factor in Washington’s economy today – generating more than 30,000 jobs and investing billions of dollars in goods and services, and on capital projects.

View a map of Washington’s federally recognized tribes:

Washington's federally recognized tribes

Each marker on the map above shows the location of a federally recognized tribal community in Washington State (Courtesy of Washington Tribes)

Again, Happy Thanksgiving and Indigenous Peoples Day!

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