Giving Thanks: A Way of Life for Native Peoples

While some Native Peoples have chosen to reject the Thanksgiving holiday entirely, many embrace the positive messages of the day and choose to put aside thoughts about its complex history. This is because the idea of giving thanks is central to Native heritage and culture.
In this way, Thanksgiving is simply a chance to appreciate the good things in life, like family, community, and the riches of the land. Long before settlers arrived, Native tribes celebrated the autumn harvest and the gift of Mother Earth’s abundance. Native spirituality, traditionally and today, emphasizes gratitude for creation, care for the environment, and recognition of the human need for communion with natures and others. 
Thanksgiving as a holiday originates from the Native philosophy of giving without expecting anything in return. In the first celebration of this holiday, the Wampanoag tribe provided not only the food for the feast but also the teachings of agriculture and hunting (corn, beans, wild rice, and turkey are some specific examples of foods introduced by Native Peoples).

The True Meaning
As some gather on this day, we wish the hearts of all people, Native and non-Native, are filled with hope and healing. Together, let's pledge to dismantle the physical, economic, educational, psychological, and spiritual barriers that divide and oppress us.
Native People’s Heritage Day allows us to reflect on our collective history and celebrate the beauty, strength, and resilience of the Native tribes of North America.
We remember the generosity of the Wampanoag tribe to the European settlers.
We remember the hundreds of thousands of Natives who lost their lives because of the ignorance and greed of colonists and the genocide experienced by whole tribes.
We remember the vibrant and resilient Native descendants, families, and communities that persist to this day throughout the culture and the country.
We give thanks to people like Sharice Davids and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, whose hard work and diligence helped place them in positions where the Native voice can be heard.
Last but not least, we remember all of the friends and family who have embraced our mission of healing and remembrance. We give thanks to you for your support. Aho!

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