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

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!

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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