Some folks are celebrating Thanksgiving today. I don't, and haven't for a number of years. This is what I do instead:
- I recognize the National Day of Mourning.
- I do a Mother Earth Celebration outside on this day, including the 4 directions and 4 elements. Every day I can, I nurture the earth and plants indoors and outside, conserve water, reduce, reuse, recycle, and repurpose, enjoy walks in nature, drive an electric car...for example.
- I spend time with my family another day.
- I try to feel, and express when I can, my gratitude everyday.
- I try to educate myself and pass on what I learn to my community.
Here is some examples for above:
I am grateful to my growing community of folks wanting to learn about our history, and do something about it now and the future.
I am reading An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. This is so information and important to know.
I recently saw Native education specialist Annawon Weeden
, a member of both the Mashpee Wampanoag and Mashantucket Pequot tribal communities, present ‘First Light Flashback,’ the personal story of his communities' history and legacy. It is powerful. This is his website: firstlightfoundation.net
Jessie Little Doe Baird is a linguist known for her efforts to revive the Wampanoag language
. Here is a film about her efforts and the effect: "We Still Live Here As Nutayunean": dailymotion.com/video
. I am grateful to Annawon for telling me about this film. I found it moving and hopeful.
I recently saw "Praying Town
" a documentary film by filmmaker Zadi Zokou for a screening and discussion of his film that covers three centuries of Natick and Southern New England: Puritans, Christian Indians, King Philip’s War, Black slavery, the Abolitionist Movement and more. I requested a copy and will get it when it becomes available so I can share it.
Here is what I did last year for my Mother Earth Celebration:
A neighbor and good friend and her two younger daughters, joined my partner and me for this event. It included the four directions and four elements as we moved around the house. I elicited answers and we had conversations at every stage. (It was cold so we didn't spend a lot of time on this...it could have included more, for sure.)
Standing in the side yard, we discussed the need for this element: for fun (all blew bubbles, E. continued this until the end of Celebration), for birds, bees, butterflies, and planes to fly (all got a Reminder Stone gift (pottery I made) of a butterfly (or other things for the other elements) and a folded paper crane, we looked at a small model airplane of P.'s), and for scattering seeds to represent the spreading of trees, flowers, plants, food (we blew seeds off of my ornamental grasses). Appropriately, it was a windy day.
Standing in the middle of the front garden, we discussed the need for this element: to grow flowers, trees (for fruit and oxygen to breathe), and food. We dropped on the earth as a gift back to Her: popcorn seeds and lentils to represent food, and a dried flower from the garden. We walked and stomped on the earth to send a message to Mother Earth that we appreciate her, and want to care for her.
Standing in the middle of the food garden, we discussed the need for this element for food: I pointed out the herbs, blueberry bushes, rhubarb, and strawberries...they need water (and earth) to live. Just like all of our food. As do us people (and animals). We are around 80% water. We drank water, and poured some on the garden. We discussed the ocean...that it is 70% of earth surface and ocean water is 97% of water on planet; we need to take care of the 3% fresh water since we can't drink ocean water. All got a shell as a gift from the ocean. WATER IS LIFE!
Standing in the sun in the back yard, we discussed the need for this element: the sun for warmth and light; fire is needed for warmth and cooking our food. We discussed what it would be like if we could only eat raw, cold food. P. said she couldn't have baked the cake she just made without fire. And we need to respect the power and danger of fire. Talked about fires in California: damage to people, homes, trees, and more. We had written notes with our wishes for Mother Earth inside. At this point, we burned these small notes in a ceramic container with "Gratitude" carved on it, spreading our wishes to the Universe asking to help us carry them out. We had trouble in the wind lighting and keeping the fire going...this reminded us of positive and negative sides of wind/air on fire.
I ended with the reminder we don't have to stop speaking to the Universe with our wishes. It can make a difference. And I mentioned that we went around the house in a circle, like the cycle of the seasons, and that all of the elements are connected, and continuous.
Today, my hubby and I were alone. We did a similar but shortened version since no guests and children were with us. Then we smudged around the house 2x and in all the corners and rooms of our house afterwards.
Again, I am grateful to my growing community of folks wanting to learn about our history, and do something about it now and the future. I am grateful for you.