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Thanksgiving Healing

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_index.jpgWith grief levels running deep in the United States and the world due to various global events, that now includes the recent American presidential election, some balm for our souls is needed.The American Thanksgiving holiday is two days away, yet many of us have heavy hearts. The true Thanksgiving story is a bleak part of our history that, this year, I will not repeat in my blog. Instead, let's take each others' hands now and be quiet together as we turn our minds to our origins.

The place for healing is always the stories of our people, whoever our ancestors are. Here on Turtle Island the original Story Keepers are Indigenous, and their stories infuse the land, waters, trees, rocks, and whole of life. The European settlers brought their stories here; stories that, if you go back far enough, are also filled with love of land. Though the stories of Turtle Island belong to Native Americans, all Americans can respect, learn from, and take solace in them.

The book pictured at your left is written by Chief Jake Swamp and is a version of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Thanksgiving Address, specially written for young people. This ancient oral transmission, or Address, is full of the beauty of all beings here on Mother Earth. It welcomes all sisters and brothers of this world into community and dialogue with one another. It recognizes what is called "One Good Mind", the sacred, unbreakable connections among all living beings--human, animal, bird, trees and rocks...every one who lives here communicating from their hearts.

The actions of human beings cannot break those bonds. They are beyond the reach of humanity. As my Indigenous teachers taught me many yearsb2ap3_thumbnail_515KSFMW5ML._SX381_BO1204203200_.jpg ago, "When the evil comes, the Beauty is taken away to a place where it will remain unharmed until it can safely return." And until that time comes, we must sing, do good works, stand up for the oppressed, love one another and eat good food, giving thanks with every breath.

Most Native Americans do not celebrate Thanksgiving because of its painful history. However, most all Indigenous nations have many ceremonies throughout the wheel of the year that offer Gratitude and Thanks. Abenaki Elder, Joseph Bruchac, offers poems and songs in that spirit in his lovely book. So let us remember to sing together and clear the heaviness out of our hearts.

When Sky Woman fell to this world and made Turtle Island, she carried with her seeds of the Three Sacred Sisters: corn, beans, and squash. Remember to thank Her at your holiday meal this Thursday, if you like.

Here is my offering of gratitude to all of you who kindly read my blog: a recipe to go along with my words. May they nourish and bring you some healing.

Sacred Squash and Apple Soup

Saute an onion and three stalks of celery. Add a few fresh cloves of garlic.
Season as you wish.

Add equal parts Butternut Squash and peeled Granny Smith Apples to the pot, along with a large knob of fresh Ginger Root. Add a Bay Leaf and your own vegetable or chicken stock. Cook slowly until soft.

Whir with immersion blender after removing Bay Leaves. Add some Oat milk or Cream. Dust with paprika.

Let the warmth in your belly radiate out into your heart and know that the beauty is being kept safe while we all do our holy work for justice. Together. Happy Thanksgiving.


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Dr. Mays is a professional writer with a doctoral degree in Native American Studies who has taught at the college level for nearly two decades. She is committed to educating about Indigenous cultures, especially about practices that specifically relate to women, in order to raise awareness about current issues in Indian Country, dissolve stereotypes, and create healing among all communities.


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