At Common People United, we like to focus on “work that matters.” Usually, that phrase is in reference to our own work or our clients’ work. But sometimes, we just have to stop and take note of others who are doing important work, especially if it involves digital tools. The Thanksgiving 2.0 #2017 Toolkit created by BoulderTalks is just that— people using digital tools to do work that matters.
BoulderTalks is a center in the College of Media, Communication, & Information (CMCI) at the University of Colorado. They are "dedicated to fostering community knowledge through democratic engagement,” and their toolkit offers valuable resources to teachers, parents, and anyone else who would like “to have more compelling conversations this holiday season, to make Thanksgiving relevant to contemporary environmental events, and to honor the best of the holiday season.”
For those of us who feel conflicted about celebrating Thanksgiving, a holiday whose history is problematic at best, there are generally two ways to proceed: we can either shut off our critical minds and enjoy the turkey and stuffing, or we can opt out, often citing reasons like genocide, and end up feeling like we are ruining everyone else’s good time. What I love about the Thanksgiving 2.0 #2017 Toolkit is that it provides us with another option by offering us tools to engage critically, while focusing on the best aspects of this holiday. Rather than rehashing past atrocities or abstract environmental issues, we are encouraged to think about and discuss contemporary issues impacting indigenous groups and our environment today.
This call to action is especially important for those of us who are geographically removed from Standing Rock because the current issues facing Native Americans may seem more removed from our daily lives, even as we pass by numerous reminders of the sacred sites cities like Fort Wayne, Indiana were built around (if not upon).
So, if you are thankful but conflicted, or even just curious, I encourage you to check out the toolkit and make your talk around the table a bit more interesting this year!