This Native American Heritage Month, it's time to destroy the harmful Thanksgiving myth. The common story that our white supremacist education system (at least in the US) teaches us is that the Pilgrims who came to Plymouth hosted a celebratory dinner alongside the Indigenous Mashpee Wampanoag peoples on Thanksgiving in 1621. However, the truth is that Thanksgiving marked a massacre of Indigenous people (specifically the Pequot community) and part of the beginning of the violent settler colonialism that is the foundation of today's United States (source: @dineaesthetics on Instagram).
To properly honor this National Day of Mourning, there are some important things that non-Native people (everywhere, but especially in the US) should do. Below is a non-exhaustive list of resources and action items.
We Are Matching Donations!
One of the most substantial and concrete things that you should do if you have the means is to financially repay the Indigenous peoples whose land you stand on. This falls under the broader concept of land acknowledgement, a process in which you identify and acknowledge the tribes whose land you reside on and build authentically supportive relationships with those communities.
To that end, LingHacks has held physical events on Chochenyo, Ohlone, Ramaytush, and Tamyen land, and we are committing to match up to $1500 in donations to these communities as well as other Indigenous mutual aid funds. This amount is approximately equal to the venue fees we have paid to hold our events on these lands. To get your donation matched, make a donation to one of the organizations/funds below, and send your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure the receipt clearly indicates the name of the organization that you donated to. Below are the organizations that we will match donations for (thanks in part to Harvard's Institute of Politics and the American Library Association for some of these links):
If you run an organization (e.g. a hackathon, nonprofit, conference, club, etc), especially one that has held physical events, we encourage you to (1) run a similar donation match, (2) factor compensation for Indigenous lands into your venue fees going forward, and (3) use your social media platforms to amplify Indigenous creators, organizers, and mutual aid funds.
Other Ways to Help
We recognize that not everyone has the means to donate at this time. If you are not able to financially contribute right now (or even if you are), here are some other ways you can help Indigenous communities:
That's all for this post. As always, please email us at email@example.com with questions, concerns, comments, suggestions, and/or corrections.
This is where we post cool content about computational linguistics & machine learning as well as exciting announcements about our programs and partner programs!