November 24, 2008

How Navajos celebrate Thanksgiving

Briggs:  Storytellers weave their own Thanksgiving memories“There wasn’t any real connection for me with the Indians I read about on the east coast,” said Sunny Dooley, Navajo. “They were different from us. But I remember the Anglo kids at school would say you’re an Indian and I would say no I’m a Navajo.

“I felt responsible for identifying myself as not just Indian.”

At home in her community on the Navajo reservation called Chi Chil’ Tah, Dooley’s family used the Navajo term Kishmish for Christmas. Thanksgiving is called Little Kishmish because it is a little less than Christmas. Mashed potatoes were called smashed potatoes, and turkey for the one day replaced mutton and deer meat. But these American holidays pale for her compared with the Navajo feasts throughout the year.

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