Gathering for Thanks — The North Star Reports – by Cheyenne Lemm. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal
This year I was one of the cooks for my family’s big Thanksgiving dinner. I felt a tremendous sense of responsibility and a lot of pride that I am now a full-fledged, turkey-basting adult. There was a moment of stress when I realized that the eighteen pound turkey would take a bit longer than four and a half hours to cook, but because we wait for everyone who is expected to arrive before eating, it was done right on time. We ate as soon as everything was done so I didn’t get the chance to photograph it, though it looked as good as it smelled and tasted.
Thanksgiving dinner has always been an important time for my family to meet up and spend time together. In fact, it is not only a holiday but there are also five of us who celebrate birthdays during this week, myself included. Since we get a turkey we usually don’t do the cake and ice cream that many people are accustomed to. But other than birthdays, I have wondered why so many family members get together at this time.
The first factor that contributes to our gathering at the end of November is that it is convenient and expected. Thanksgiving used to be about celebrating the end of the harvest in my family, as we live in a very agriculturally based region. Now with winter coming we use it as a way to keep in touch before deep winter sets and it will be too cold to start our cars.
I am biracial; one part of my family is white and rooted in Finnish and German traditions while another part celebrates their American Indian roots. This year we had the full spread on the table. Turkey, cranberries, rolls, corn, black olives, yams, wild rice, apple and pumpkin pie, and my favorite– stuffing. Other than the olives, all of these foods are things that can be grown in or around Minnesota. I especially like that we always have wild rice at our Thanksgiving dinner. Native foods like wild rice and fry bread have helped my family remain tied to our American Indian heritage.
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The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The Middle Ground Journal and The College of St. Scholastica’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our program. We also welcome Duluth East High School and other schools around the world. The North Star Reports has flourished since 2012. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:
The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing reviews of books, documentaries, and films, projects on historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers.
Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA
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