It’s challenging to change our perspective on long standing traditions and holidays. Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that mark the beginning of winter festivities and brings families together over turkey and pie. So, when we are asked to rethink this holiday from a perspective of Native Americans, it isn’t easy.
The Mourning Road to Thanksgiving by Larry Spotted Crow Mann is a well written and engaging story told through the eyes of Neempau, a Nipmuc man. Neempau struggles with his past wrought with abuse, hardship, and loss. As he goes on a journey of letting go and finding clarity and peace, he fights to change the status quo surrounding Thanksgiving. This award winning YA book brought me to tears, made me laugh, and made me think. It’s the kind of book where both the protagonist and the reader are transformed. We are reminded of the resilience of Native American people who have suffered much and continue to live with the trauma of the past. Yet, they are still here despite everything that has been done to eliminate them.