Monday, October 9, 2017

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving 2017! Also Leif Erikson Day and Native American Day

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!  I'm celebrating today by featuring two reasons that Canadians should be thankful.  One of them was the subject of last year's entry for the holiday, Justin Trudeau.  Here he is before the United Nations last month in Trudeau UN speech shines global spotlight on Canada's Indigenous issues from CBC's The National.

PM Justin Trudeau conceded that Canada is flawed and drew attention to the current plight of Canada's Indigenous people in his second-ever speech before the UN General Assembly today.
While it is not the most positive portrayal of Canada, Trudeau is at least willing to own up to his country's faults, as few as they are, and is interested in rectifying them, not only for the First Nations people directly affected, but to enhance Canada's standing in the world.  Canada should be thankful for that, as the U.S. currently doesn't have a leader like that.

Trudeau is not the only leader Canada should be thankful for.  While he is the head of government, he isn't the head of state.  Former astronaut Julie Payette is the Governor General of Canada.

From astronaut to Governor General: Julie Payette journeyed to space twice, but her next mission at Rideau Hall is expected to come with its own kind of challenges.
Canadians should be thankful to have someone as accomplished as their head of state.  I wish we had a former astronaut as President!

Trudeau's remarks about the plight of the First Nations in Canada, reminds me that it's also Indigenous People's Day or Native American Day here in the U.S.  It's also a day to celebrate the real first European to land in North America, Leif Erikson.  Follow over the jump for more on both from National Day Calendar.

Happy Native American Day!
Native American Day is observed annually on the second Monday in October. While it is not celebrated in all 50 states, it is recognized in both California and South Dakota while gaining popularity in the rest of the nation.

Native American Day is a day to celebrate the cultures and contributions made to our country by the various Native American tribes.

In other parts of the country, Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebrations occur on this day. Events such as traditional dances, art displays and ceremonies have begun to replace Columbus Day practices.


Use #NativeAmericanDay to post on social media.


The South Dakota legislature unanimously passed legislation proposed by Governor George S. Mickelson in 1989 to proclaim 1990 as the “Year of Reconciliation” between Native Americans and whites and to change Columbus Day to Native American Day.
As someone whose three most significant others are all part Native American, and therefore all of whose children are part Native American, this is a more fitting way to celebrate today.

Next, Happy Leif Erikson Day!

National Leif Erickson Day is observed annually on October 9th.  The day honors Leif Erikson, the Norse explorer who brought the first Europeans known to have set foot in North America.  Leif Erikson left the European continent in 999 and set foot in America in the year 1,000.


Use #LeifEriksonDay to post on social media.


In 1925, at the Norse-American Centennial, President Calvin Coolidge gave recognition to Leif Erikson as the discoverer of America due to research by Norwegian-American scholars such as Knut Geirset and Ludvig-Hektoen.

United States Representative John Blatnik from Duluth introduced a bill in 1963 to observe Leif Erikson Day nationwide.  On September 2, 1964, the United States Congress passed Joint Resolution 88-566authorizing the President to proclaim October 9 as Leif Erikson Day.  President Lyndon B. Johnson and each President since have done so.  In the proclamations, the Presidents have praised the contributions of Americans of Nordic descent generally and the spirit of discovery. 

Some states officially commemorate Leif Erikson Day in addition to the federal observance, particularly in the Upper Midwest where there are large numbers of people from the Nordic countries settled.

On October 9, 1825, a sloop named, Restauration, with 52 Norwegian Quakers on board, landed in New York Harbor beginning what would become the first organized immigration from Norway to the United States.  In commemoration of their journey and their exploring ancestor, Congress selected October 9 for National Leif Erickson Day.
I already know how I'm going to celebrate it next year -- with a clip of Spongebob Squarepants.  I'd post it today, but I'm an environmentalist.  I conserve my resources.


  1. I wish we had a former astronaut as President!

    I'd settle for sending our current President into space. Preferably deporting him to Pluto. As a plutocrat it's probably his home planet anyway.

    It's about time Columbus Day was changed, given all the atrocities he committed as Governor of Hispaniola. Like the removal of Confederate statues, it's really about recognizing the humanity of the victims, something about which earlier generations had a real blind spot.

    1. I'd be happy to exile him to the Moon as one of the first colonists. About the only thing I like about the current administration is their commitment to crewed space travel and a return to the Moon as well as heading to Mars.

      "It's really about recognizing the humanity of the victims, something about which earlier generations had a real blind spot."

      I second this emotion.

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