I like Thanksgiving because the holiday brings family and friends together to enjoy conversation, down-home cooking, and contemplation about what we are thankful for in our lives. Of course, we embrace the mythic aspects of the holiday-- the underbelly of the historically dubious Thanksgiving story involves the genocide of Native Americans by a swarm of religiously conservative castaways from Europe, and a near future legacy of enslavement of people, destruction of nature, and global military dominion. And then there is the horrific modern invention of Black Friday, which is nothing short of a consumerist zombie-orgy-- capitalist diarrhea.
Nonetheless, the holiday is grand if you are not working retail, or eating alone. Most Americans choose to spin the holiday in a positive direction, and focus on gratitude. I like to extrapolate the underlying message of Thanksgiving-- that we are all immigrants in this world, with something to bring to the table to share with others.
I created this piece, “Undocumented Pilgrim,” in 2006. It was published in American Illustration 26. It hangs in my apartment, and I’m not sure if I ever want to part with it. In my mind, the greatest thing about living in an American city is the rainbow of cultures represented in a metropolitan area. With the exception of Native Americans, all Americans descended from immigrants. Thanksgiving is an immigrant story.