“Council of 3″ – National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Artist unknown.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! And happy Native American Heritage Month too.
Wishing you all an amazing day with family & friends. We’re on tour in Texas and some fans in Dallas are making us part of their family tonight!
We hope everyone takes some time out to talk about what today means from a Native American perspective. Jacqueline Keeler, a member of the Dineh Nation & Yankton Dakota Sioux, wrote a moving essay called ‘Thanksgiving: A Native American View’. In it she talks about the Native Americans who fed the pilgrims through the winter and taught them how to grow their food:
“These were not merely ‘friendly Indians.’ They had already experienced European slave traders raiding their villages for a hundred years or so, and they were wary—but it was their way to give freely to those who had nothing. Among many of our peoples, showing that you can give without holding back is the way to earn respect.”
That’s not too far off what children are taught at school. But the aftermath is usually glossed over:
“Within 20 years European disease and treachery had decimated the Wampanoags. By 1623, Mather the elder, a Pilgrim leader, was giving thanks for destroying the heathen savages to make way “for a better growth.” … We have seen the evil that it caused in the 350 years since. Genocide, environmental devastation, poverty, racism.”
But she then goes on to say:
“Where is the hero who will destroy that heart of evil? I believe it must be each of us. Indeed, when I give thanks and I cook my native food, I will be thinking of this hidden heart and how my ancestors survived the evil it caused.
Because if we can survive, with our ability to share and to give intact, then the evil and the goodwill that met that Thanksgiving day in the land of the Wampanoag will have come full circle.
And the healing can begin.”
Imagine a day of celebrating family & friends, reflection, mourning & reconciliation in equal parts. That would be a pretty special day indeed. And that’s how we’re going to try & celebrate our first Thanksgiving in the USA.
Peace & love to you all!