Mourning, Gratitude

turtle-tanAh, the hoopla of Thanksgiving: family, a traditional meal, football games and the official start of the Holiday season. The shopping frenzy of Black Friday has become as iconic as the images of turkeys and Pilgrim hats. That’s not to mention Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.

Being grateful for our blessings should be a given, everyday. I wince a bit thinking how much the idea of giving thanks has been relegated to this single day. As the ‘good will to men[sic], peace on earth’ message appears each year in December and is not in evidence in July or March. My cynical self notes the many un-peaceful actions that so often arise during the stressful weeks leading up to the gift giving celebrations.

I am especially aware of the mourning that our national holiday neglects to mention, but which is at the core of the Thanksgiving ‘story’. It is vitally important that we honor the millions of indigenous people, here in this country (and all over the world) who’ve been systematically murdered and displaced. In addition to supporting the activists at Standing Rock and other protests, I’ve embarked on some self-education.

Here is the link to a Native American Indian website that I recommend. I was fascinated, as a girl, by the stories of the Lenni Lenape people who originally lived in what is now northern New Jersey. My hometown of Hackensack is one of dozens of local place names that derived from the language of this Algonquin tribe. This site brings together a wealth of information and links to more information about North and South American indigenous peoples.

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