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Glen Hare, Grand Chief of the Anishinabek Nation, says Thanksgiving isn’t a time to rehash old grievances. (Supplied/Anishinabek Nation) The new Grand Council Chief of Anishinabek Nation hopes Thanksgiving can be a day of unification.

Glen Hare, the Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief, which represents the 40 First Nations in Ontario, says the Thanksgiving holiday is more about being grateful for what we have rather than reopening old wounds.

"Why do we celebrate?," Hare said. "We should take time, especially that one day, to reflect where we’ve been and where we have to go yet with our missions."

"Let’s be united across the country," he added. "You know, you can’t ask for anything more than that. I know we have struggles, we have issues, but at the end of the day our goals and aspirations are the same."

"So let’s be united and stand shoulder to shoulder and deal with what we have to deal with and keep going in a good way." Chief RoseAnne Archibald says it’s up to individual whether to consider Thanksgiving festivities a positive or negative. (Supplied/Laura Barrios) RoseAnne Archibald, the Regional Chief of Ontario, says that was the same premise at the very first Thanksgiving celebration.

It was attended by Indigenous peoples and settlers to Turtle Island, the original name of North America, according to some Indigenous groups. Today’s iteration of the holiday originates from traditional shared feasts between the two groups.

"We started this relationship with newcomers based on generosity and the principles of sharing," Archibald said. "That’s what we talk about when we talk about our treaty relationship with the Crown, with Canada."

"I think that people have forgotten its true origins. And if we can, in this age of reconciliation get back to that, I think that Canada will be a much better place for all of us."

Archibald says it’s up to each First Nation person to decide if they want to view Thanksgiving negatively or positively, but she hopes moving forward it can be a day of reconciliation and reflection.

Both Hare and Archibald says Thanksgiving is also a time to spend with family, and an opportunity to share culture and knowledge with others.

With files from Angela Gemmill

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