Greetings on this Thanksgiving week!
I want to pause a moment and acknowledge the roots of thanksgiving in North America;namely, USA and Canada. Our mainstream USA history tells us one story, which we all know too well. It mostly is a fabrication in a long line of historical fiction that justifies the invasion of the Americas.
Indigenous peoples tell quite another story.
In the Fall of 1521(some sources say, 1523),the Wampanoag people observed a settlement of starving invaders from Europe. These pilgrim/invaders were starving because of their ignorance of the local landscape. The tribal Wampanoag decided to assist. The indigenous folk were not savages whose innocence prevented them from seeing that the pilgrims were likely to pillage land and people.
No. This local tribe had already experienced European slave traders raiding their villages for two decades, had seen the population of the Atlantic Coast reduced drastically through rampant disease, and tasted the bitter drink of broken promises by these Puritans who saw Western Civilization as superior. The tribal people were already sick, wounded, and disappointed. Their brilliantly sustainable forests were already growing thick with underbrush because of the decimation of their populations. Still, they chose to help.
And, it didn’t occur to the pilgrims to question the extreme transcendence of their theology which estranged them from the bounty of the eco-field where they had settled. They didn’t understand that their arrogance and ignorance was the seat of their plight.
So, why did the Wampanoag help!
Why? Because the Wampanoag operated in an economy of generosity. The people most esteemed in their society were those who were most generous. Storage, ownership, and accumulation were foreign to them. So, they gave and gave thanks even in the face of an invasion which would eventually aim at exterminating them and their kind.
I choose to make this profound generosity the focal point of my Thanksgiving.
I will explore with you through the week, both here and on my Earthtribe website, further reflections on this story.
Wisdom School of Graduate Studies