Greetings Dear Ones!
The Theme of our the Gathering was: “Honoring the Old Ones.”
During our Gathering, Paul spoke of a Global Initiative with the Shamanic Vision Healing Council for the Covid-19 Global situation and invited all listeners to take an active role in participating daily with us. Details are found here: https://wp.me/P3BqZT-1hq.
Paul then shared about the effect of a recent video shown on CNN regarding a kind hearted man fighting for his life in South Dakota.
Paul also read from a post on “What does Thanksgiving Mean to Native Americans” and what we can do in re-considering the far deeper aspects of “The Great Giveaway” in reaching out during this week of Gratitude (and how this needs to be a Way of Life all the time.
The recording of the Gathering is found here:
The file is also available for download here:
There are always two sides of a story. Unfortunately, when it comes to the history of Thanksgiving, generations of Americans have been taught a one-sided history in homes and schools.
The dominant cultural and historical story has been told from the perspective of the white colonialists who landed near Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts in 1620. In this version of the Thanksgiving story, the holiday commemorates the peaceful, friendly meeting of English settlers and the Wampa-noag tribe for three days of feasting and thanksgiving in 1621.
Every year, news outlets and social media are a-buzz with Thanksgiving themes. There is little coverage of the fact that November is Native American Heritage Month or that November 23rd, known to most as Black Friday, is Native American Heritage Day.
The mainstream version of the Thanksgiving story paints a picture of courageous, Christian settlers, braving the perils of the New World and with the help of some friendly Natives, finding a way to make a new life for themselves. In the days around Thanksgiving, many teachers focus in on this happy story, helping students make American Indian headdresses out of construction paper and holding Thanksgiving reenactments in their classrooms.
Very few teachers realize that construction headdresses and school re-enactments create a lump stereotype that Native Americans all wear the same regalia. These school activities also encourage young students to think it is okay to wear culture as a costume. This makes it hard for students to recognize the diversity of Native American tribes and makes students believe it’s okay to mimic Native American traditional wear, without having an understanding of its spiritual significance.
Very few teachers get a chance to tell students about the massacres of Native tribes that took place in the years that followed. They also do not mention that English settlers robbed Wampa-noag graves and stole food from them in order to survive during their first years on this new continent.
Here’s a look at some of the reasons why Thanksgiving is a complex holiday, and one that all Americans should approach with greater sensitivity.
Thanksgiving Is a Day of Mourning for Some Native Tribes
It’s important to know that for many Native Americans, Thanksgiving is a day of mourning and protest since it commemorates the arrival of settlers in North America and the centuries of oppression and genocide that followed after.
For over 50 years, the United American Indians of New England have organized a rally and day of mourning on Thanksgiving. Here’s what they have to say about this choice to mourn:
“Thanksgiving day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native people, the theft of Native lands, and the relentless assault on Native culture. Participants in National Day of Mourning honor Native ancestors and the struggles of Native peoples to survive today. It is a day of remembrance and spiritual connection as well as a protest of the racism and oppression which Native Americans continue to experience.”
Some Native Americans mourn publicly and openly, while some simply refrain from participating in this national holiday.
Thanksgiving is Already a Way of Life for Native Americans
While some Native Americans have chosen to reject the Thanksgiving holiday entirely, many embrace the positive messages of the holiday and choose to put aside thoughts about the complex history of this day.
This is because the idea of giving thanks is central to Native heritage and culture, and in this way, Thanksgiving is simply a chance to appreciate the good things of life like family, community, and the riches of the land. Long before settlers arrived, Native tribes were celebrating the autumn harvest and the gift of Mother Earth’s abundance. Native American spirituality, both traditionally and today, emphasizes gratitude for creation, care for the environment, and recognition of the human need for communion with nature and others.
Thanksgiving as a holiday originates from the Native American philosophy of giving without expecting anything in return. In the first celebration of this holiday, the Wampa-noag tribe not only provided the food for the feast, but also the teachings of agriculture and hunting (corn, beans, wild rice, and turkey are some specific examples of foods introduced by Native Americans).
Now, regardless of the origin of the day, many Native Americans will gather with friends and family and use the day to eat good food (many of the classic Thanksgiving dishes are inspired by indigenous foods) and give thanks.
This Thanksgiving, let us Remember
Therefore, let us send Blessings that this Thanksgiving, the hearts of all people, Native and non-Native, are filled with hope, healing, and a desire to dismantle the barriers—physical, economic, educational, psychological, and spiritual— that divide us and oppress us.
This time of year, and these two holidays, Thanksgiving and Native American Heritage Day, give us the opportunity to reflect on our collective history and to celebrate the beauty, strength, and resilience of the Native tribes of North America.
We remember the generosity of the Wampanoag tribe to the helpless settlers.
We remember the hundreds of thousands of Native Americans who lost their lives at the hands of colonialists and the genocide of whole tribes.
We remember the vibrant and powerful Native descendants, families, and communities that persist to this day throughout the culture and the country.
Three Sisters recipe
The Three Sisters is a vegetable medley of corn, squash and beans that are planted together so each plant can support and nourish each other.
Corn, beans and squash have provided nutrition for Native American people for generations. These three sisters grow together and support each other as they thrive. Traditionally, the vegetables were planted together in late May or early June. In gardens, small mounds were built 2 feet apart at the base and 4 feet apart at the top. In the center of each, several corn kernels were planted in a small circle. After the corn grew about a hand high, pole beans were planted in another circle in the mound, about 6 inches outside the corn. A week later, squash seeds were planted around the outer edge of the mound. The beans grew up the cornstalks, which were strong enough to hold the weight. The squash grew out and covered the ground, keeping out the weeds and keeping in the moisture. These plants provided for each other, just as they provided for the People.
There are many variations of Three Sisters available. However, they all have the three basic ingredients in them: Corn, Beans, Squash. Modify per your regional ingredients. Here is a basic recipe to use a foundation:
Join us next week (Sunday, Nov. 29) at 9:30 a.m. Mountain Standard Time. Theme for this Gathering is: “Smile”
(Please note that this is 10 p.m. IST)
You may register here: https://wp.me/Pb3VB1-6T
Have questions, comments or want to suggest a topic? Need help on something going on in your life? Feel free to reach out to me. (Don’t register from here…this is for correspondence only).