Petula Dvorak has this up on the Native Americans and this holiday we celebrate.
The Native Americans I talked to said they’ve all heard of someone who doesn’t celebrate the holiday the way it’s presented in food magazines and Hallmark television specials. But all the people I talked to said they hold on to the original message that the Wampanoag had that day — a harvest feast to give thanks.
“Thanksgiving is like every day for us. Giving thanks is a big part of the native cultures. So the basic message of the holiday, that’s still part of who we are,” said Ben Norman, 32, a member of the Pamunkey tribe in Virginia.
And that’s what it means to me, too—being thankful for every day and every meal and all that is provided for us.
The Native Americans recognize that all is connected. What we do over *here* affects something over *there*. We cannot take and take and take without there being repercussions. The traditional Native Americans humbly acknowledge that with taking only what they need.
The Europeans described America as a wilderness. The Native Americans knew better and carefully managed the great ecosystem–you could drink from any river or stream….the fish were plentiful because they weren’t overfished and they didn’t contain mercury and other toxins…you could breathe…
They were portrayed as heathens that needed “saving” by missionaries. Instead of trying to understand their spirituality, the Europeans sought to force their religion upon them. Native Americans don’t have Churches where one goes to pray once a week and then forget everything that is taught…rather, they see spirituality in everything they do—everything is connected to the Creator.
I just wanted to acknowledge their culture and all that was lost.