Who Laid The Roots

Singer-songwriter and activist Lila Downs.

As we near the Thanksgiving holiday, we’re likely counting down the hours to a break from school and work, researching stuffing recipes that’ll use up all the leftovers in the fridge, and looking forward to some of the traditions we’ve been born into and continue to carry forward into adulthood. While Thanksgiving is a time to showcase gratitude, childhood school plays had us believing it was also about a lovely shared meal between the Indigenous people of North America and the European conquerors. This revisionist history is an outright lie attempted to veil genocide and ethnocide, both of which has had a deep, dire, and continuing impact on the Native American population for centuries and counting. It is crucial we acknowledge the reality of this history, and work to showcase, honor, and support the voices of such a rich and underrepresented culture. Here are some great ways to experience the incredible art and history of the people who have populated this land long, long before colonizers did. Read them. Watch them. Listen to them. 

What to read: There, There, by Tommy Orange.

              Love Medicine, by Louise Erdrich

              Winter in the Blood, by James Welch

              Ceremony, by Leslie Marmon Silko

What to watch: Reservation Dogs, directed by Sterlin Harjo. Television series which utilizes Native creatives on both sides of the camera, creating a series which explores the lives of indigenous youth in the throes of teenage life. Streaming on HULU

Deidra and Laney Rob a Train, directed by Sydney Freeland. A Netflix original, this film is crime meets comedy meets drama, where two girls turn to a life of train-robbing in order to support their family. Streaming on NETFLIX

Night Raiders, directed by Danis Goulet, is a feature film exploring Indigenous science fiction themes. 

What to listen to: A Tribe Called Red

                   Prolific the Rapper

                   Lila Downs

                   Mildred Bailey

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