Well, hello, everyone and Happy Thanksgiving! As the originator of the Thanksgiving blog post, and because Dan (my successor on the blog) said he’d be watching for it and John (current blogger-in-chief) said he’d welcome it, I’m here to sell you on the joys of Thanksgiving.
If you’re in the U.S., or an American living elsewhere, I hope you’re looking forward to a celebration with friends or family today!
If you haven’t spent much time in the U.S., the idea of a holiday that involves little besides expressing gratitude and eating may seem strange. There’s no built-in religious component and no gifts to be given or received. There are modern traditions that have grown up around the day, such as “Turkey Trot” road races, or “Turkey Bowl” football games, or, notably, a parade in New York that features giant balloons. But the heart of the holiday still involves gathering with loved ones and celebrating with a special meal (which often includes turkey).
The history of Thanksgiving is complicated. I’m among the people who were taught as school children that the Pilgrims arrived from England, the Indians welcomed them, and a big feast was held. But it’s not possible anymore to accept as complete that sanitized version of history, especially for those of us who live close to where the story began. In recent years, I’ve learned a lot about the native peoples who were the original inhabitants of this land — something for which I’m grateful! Many organizations, including Tufts, have adopted Land Acknowledgements. See the University’s below.
Among Fletcher-based things to be thankful for are our terrific students who bring so much knowledge and energy into the building each day. Special thanks for the PhD students with whom I work now and who already contribute to public discussion of current topics. Plus they organize a lovely Friendsgiving, for which we gathered last week. (Mike and Joey are shown with MALD pal, Alyssa.)
I’m also thankful for the Admissions team, who are great partners in our shared work, and other members of the Fletcher administrative team, who always deserve to be recognized for how they keep the place running!
And with that, I wish you all a wonderful holiday, wherever you may be celebrating it. Fletcher will be closed today and tomorrow. Back on Monday.
Tufts University Land Acknowledgement
Tufts University’s Medford/Somerville campus resides on the colonized homelands of the Massachusett tribe, whose name describes the place visible from the Great Hill, today referred to as the Blue Hills that lie south of Boston. The Massachusett came into contact with the Nipmuc to the west, the Pawtucket to the north, and Wampanoag to the south, related peoples who shared mutually intelligible languages. As an institution that benefits from the ownership of land once inhabited and cared for by Indigenous communities, Tufts has a responsibility to recognize this history and cultivate relationships with the descendants and nations who represent the original peoples of what is now eastern Massachusetts.