by Carrie Sundra
This time of year is a conundrum. While I'm grateful for the friends and family the holidays bring together, I also have to acknowledge that Thanksgiving is a colonizer's holiday. My earliest memory of the story of Thanksgiving, taught to me in school, was that indigenous people shared their food with white settlers, taught them about the new-to-them foods and game, and that knowledge and generosity saved them from starvation that winter. Later I learned that the white settlers went on to commit terrible acts of genocide against indigenous people and stole their land to found the country we live in now. I feel like Thanksgiving should be a narrative about giving thanks to indigenous peoples, but instead, our cultural narrative has become gratitude for the things and people that myself as a white person is surrounded by. It feels pretty hypocritical and gross.
All of us at Alpenglow Industries would like to acknowledge that the land we operate on, and that our team members work on, is all the ancestral homelands of several different indigenuous peoples. Our small team is spread over 3 time zones and 2 countries, and we each had a bit to say about the land we live on.
Tiohtiá:ke, (Montreal) is on the traditional unceded territory of the Kanien’kehà:ka, and has long served as a site of meeting for many First Nations including the Kanien’kehá:ka of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, Huron/Wendat, Abenaki, and Anishinaabeg. We recognize and respect the Kanien’kehà:ka as the traditional custodians of the lands on which Alpenglow Industries Team Members operate today.
Hundreds of years before Ann Arbor, Michigan was founded, the Anishinaabeg, meaning "The People" and including the Odawa, Ojibwe, and Potawatomi tribes, and the Wyandot tribe lived on the land along what are now called the Huron River and the Great Lakes. Collectively, the Odawa, Ojibwe, and Potawatomi form the Council of the Three Fires and it is their unceded land that our team members live on and work from today.
San Luis Obispo, California, where Alpenglow Industries in headquartered, is the ancestral home for over 10,000 years of the yak titʸu titʸu yak tiłhini tribe, "the people of the full moon", also known as the Northern Chumash Tribe. We respect the deep understanding the yak titʸu titʸu yak tiłhini have of the ocean (yat spasini) and tides, and as makers, we respect their expertise in intricate basket weaving and skilled jewelry-making featuring local abalone shells. We recognize that the yak titʸu titʸu yak tiłhini are the longtime non-nomadic custodians of these unceded lands that we occupy.
We will be donating to local organizations representing these Nations and tribes at the end of the holiday week, in recognition of the indigenous people whose generosity and empathy brought about the Thanksgiving holiday, and in gratitude for the work that indigenous people and their tribes do in our communities today.