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Indigenous mom leads call to learn about 'Truthsgiving'

The Indigenous community members who live in the United States tell a much different story about Thanksgiving.

The first Thanksgiving often gets framed as a big, happy feast between Pilgrims and Indigenous people. The darker parts of the story are usually left out.

An Alaska mom of two is opening up about what she says is the truth about Thanksgiving -- or "Truthsgiving" -- and joining a growing number of outspoken Indigenous community members who want others to know there's more to the Thanksgiving story of 1621 than many American schoolchildren are taught.

Kelsey Ciugun Wallace, a TikTok content creator, mom of two, and the development and communications director at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, said she was inspired to post about "Truthsgiving" after talking to her daughter Cingarkaq last year when she came home from kindergarten with a homework assignment about Thanksgiving.

"I just remember sitting there and looking at the curriculum and realizing that it hadn't changed from when I was in school," Wallace, who is an Orutsararmiut Native Council member, recalled to "Good Morning America," saying it "felt wrong" to go along with the "happy feast" storyline.

Kelsey Ciugun Wallace is a communications and development director at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, a TikTok creator and a mom of two. Wallace is a registered member of the Orutsararmiut Native Council in Bethel, Alaska. [Kelsey Ciugun Wallace]

Wallace posted a TikTok video ahead of Thanksgiving last year -- reshared on her TikTok account over the weekend -- in which she outlined five things she wants people to do on "Truthsgiving," rather than simply hosting a Thanksgiving feast:

  • Recognize and honor the Native lands you live on.

  • Uplift and celebrate Native voices every day.

  • Check in with your children's curriculum / teachers about teaching correct historical narratives.

  • Be intentional with how you spend your time as a family / community -- hold space for truth telling.

  • Support Native owned businesses, donate to Native organizations doing the work for our people.

"This year marks the 400th year since the lost Pilgrims stumbled onto Native lands. I'm cutting ties w/ the 'what are you thankful for' narrative this year," she wrote in the caption.

The video has since garnered thousands of likes and over 10,000 views.


(c) 2022, ABC News

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