Thanksgiving, Oceti Sakowin Style: Shailene Woodley, Jane Fonda and 500 Water Protectors
Actresses Shailene Woodley and Jane Fonda will be among those in attendance at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to give and share thanks with the water protectors holding fast in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The celebrities bought and will serve 500 water protectors a Thanksgiving dinner.
“My sister just arrived to #standingrock,” Woodley wrote on Facebook. “We’re going to Facebook live stream tomorrow at 11am CT with people on the ground here.”
The status was accompanied by a photo of the events from “Sunday night, when protectors were sprayed in subzero temperatures with water, tear gas, mace, rubber bullets, bean bag bullets, concussion grenades… pray for unconditional love tonight,” she wrote.
In addition to serving, Fonda has donated seven butchered bison to the dinner, as well as four Mongolian yurts, according to the Dakota Dispatch. Ben & Jerry’s is sending ice cream, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The dinner was organized by author Judy Wicks, known as the founder of the White Dog Café in Philadelphia, according to Civil Eats.
“We are rushing toward our own extinction because of climate change,” Wicks told Civil Eats. “Native Americans showed early settlers how to cultivate the crops needed to survive. Now, once again, they’re the ones pointing the way toward the survival of civilization.”
She has pulled together a group of 50 chefs, activists and volunteers to cook Thanksgiving dinner for the 500 people and help to build a community center out of straw bales, Civic Eats said. The food and chefs come from all over Turtle Island.
“At the center of the meal will be 30 pasture-raised turkeys from BN Ranch, in Northern California,” Civil Eats said. “Jeremy Stanton, owner of a sustainable butcher shop, and fire-roasted catering business in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, plans to spit-roast the turkeys using a pedal-powered system he calls the “spit cycle,” reducing the manpower it normally takes to turn animals on a spit.”
Woodley, who is hosting the event, has been deeply involved in the DAPL fight since August, when construction began on the portion of the 1,172-mile-long, $3.8 billion oil pipeline that would go past the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and under the Missouri River. She was arrested in October as she walked back to her vehicle upon authorities’ request after peacefully protesting at a DAPL construction site.
The Oscar-winning Fonda has been almost as well known for her activism over the years as for her acting, most notably with her outspoken opposition to the Vietnam War in the 1970s. She has also supported American Indian causes, including the 1969 occupation of Alcatraz Island.
Of course, Thanksgiving in Indian country is not a celebration of the mythologized feel-good fest that purportedly took place between European settlers and Indigenous Peoples centuries ago. It is more a day to spend with loved ones, and expressing gratitude—though as most Native Americans will tell you, expressions of gratitude are woven into daily life, holiday or no.
This year, Turtle Island’s First Peoples are on the receiving end of the gratitude, with tribute paid to their agricultural efforts all those years ago, and to their generosity. In fact, we have Native Americans to thank for many of the foods we consume every Thanksgiving, Wicks noted.
“The foods the Natives shared with settlers were not just growing wild,” wrote Wicks on Ecowatch.com. “They were cultivated over many generations by native people who had a deep connection to the land. Today, many vegetables and fruits in our diet were first cultivated by Native Americans, including foods found on the Thanksgiving table—potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, corn, tomatoes, squash, pumpkin and cranberry. The turkey many enjoy on Thanksgiving Day was first domesticated by Native Americans.”
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