Indianz.Com > News > Tim Giago: Thoughts on Thanksgiving and Native American Heritage Month
Tim Giago
Tim Giago. Photo courtesy Native Sun News Today
Notes from Indian Country
Thoughts on Thanksgiving
Monday, November 15, 2021

Sean Sherman, founder and CEO of The Sioux Chef and the author of The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, may have complicated and painful feelings about the Thanksgiving, but is offering up new ways to observe it.

Sherman, who hails from the Oglala Sioux Tribe, said the following in a piece for Time Magazine, which you should absolutely read in full:

“The thing is, we do not need the poisonous ‘pilgrims and Indians’ narrative. We do not need that illusion of past unity to actually unite people today. Instead, we can focus simply on values that apply to everybody: togetherness, generosity and gratitude. And we can make the day about what everybody wants to talk and think about anyway: the food.

People may not realize it, but what every person in this country shares, and the very history of this nation, has been in front of us the whole time. Most of our Thanksgiving recipes are made with indigenous foods: turkey, corn, beans, pumpkins, maple, wild rice and the like. We should embrace this.”

Deanna Kalian, a recent graduate from Mount Holyoke College had this to say about Native American Heritage Month. Writing in Mount Holyoke News, an independent student newspaper:

November is also Native American Heritage Month, a time to recognize the talents of the many Native Americans who have contributed to American culture. Here are five Native American writers you should know:

Louise Erdrich, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, has written 15 novels and has also published volumes of poetry, children’s books, short stories and a memoir. Her novels have received numerous awards; her first, “Love Medicine,” won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Another book, “The Plague of Doves,” was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Tommy Orange, a member of the Arapaho and Cheyenne Nations, is the author of the novel “There There,” released in 2018. The debut work, which won the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize and was a New York Times bestseller, takes readers to the “Big Oakland Powwow.” There, Orange introduces readers to 12 characters, whose lives and brilliant personalities intersect with devastating results. “There There” was Mount Holyoke’s 2019 Common Read.

Joy Harjo, a member of the Muscogee Nation, was named the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States in 2019, becoming the first Native American recipient. Although primarily known for her poetry, Harjo has published memoirs, children’s books, screenplays and even musical compositions. One of her poetry collections, “In Mad Love and War,” won the American Book Award and the William Carlos Williams Award.

Stephen Graham Jones, a member of the Blackfeet Nation, has authored 16 novels, six short-story collections, nearly 300 short stories appearing in journals and magazines and one graphic novel, “My Hero.” Jones has received four This is Horror Awards, the Texas Institute of Letters Award for Fiction and the Independent Publishers Multicultural Award, among others. He is currently the Ivena Baldwin Professor of English and a Professor of Distinction at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

nila northSun, a member of the Shoshone Nation and Chippewa/Ojibwe on her father’s side, is an activist and poet who has been writing since the 1970s. She was the director of a tribal emergency youth shelter of the Shoshone Nation for eight years and is also a grant writer for the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Reservation, where she currently lives.

She has published five poetry collections and one non-fiction book, “After the Drying Up of the Water,” a history of the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Nation. north- Sun won the University of Nevada, Reno’s Silver Pen award in 2000 and the Indigenous Heritage Award for Literature four years later.

Contact Tim Giago at

Note: Content © Tim Giago