How to Have a Safe, Informed, and Happy Thanksgiving 

November welcomes us to the season of giving and thankfulness. Many spend the following weeks seeing and spending time with loved ones and reflecting on the blessing that life has provided. November is also National Native American Heritage Month. This month is a time to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories as well as acknowledge the important contributions of Native people. Native American Heritage Month is also an opportune time to educate about tribes, to raise general awareness about the unique challenges Native people have faced both historically and in the present, and the ways in which tribal citizens have worked to conquer these challenges.

In particular, we want to raise awareness of the violence that is facing Native women. Domestic Violence is not inherent to the Native culture and can be traced back to the introduction of alcohol and Christianity. Today, 4 out of 5 of our Native women will experience violence. The U.S Department of Justice found that American Indian women face murder rates that are more than 10 times the national average. Homicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among 10-24 years of age and the fifth leading cause of death for American Indian and Alaska Native women between 25 and 34 years of age. At Harbor House, we know domestic violence affects us all, including indigenous women, so we have tried to build programming, partnerships, and services that show respect and protect their traditional culture.[site]

Every week, in partnership with Reach Counseling we host a Native American Talking Circle Support Group at Harbor House. This support group is an open, survivor-driven group focused on the spiritual and holistic approach toward healing from trauma. We are proud of our partnership with Wise Women Gathering Place, which is a non-profit organization out of Green Bay that provides holistic healing services which are infused with a Native American cultural understanding and ‘Midwifery Approach’ – that is, attentive to safety in all aspects, imbued with informed choice, considers family impact, and whole-person centered.

Wisconsin is home to 11 federally recognized American Indian nations and tribal communities. Outagamie and Calumet Counties are on the land of the Menominee Indian Tribe. Thanksgiving is a great time of year to educate yourself, raise awareness, and show support. We encourage you to consider adding one (or more of these) to your Thanksgiving celebrations.

  1. Learn about their culture, traditions, language, history, etc. of the tribe whose land you are living on.
  2. If your local tribe in on social media, follow them! The Menominee Indian Tribe is on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
  3. Attend an event put on by your local tribe
  4. Gear your thanksgiving dinner conversation to focus on the things you’ve learned about history from indigenous authors and discussing indigenous organizations to support.

All of us at Harbor House wish you and your loved ones a safe, informed and Happy Thanksgiving.