For the past few days, I have found myself in the middle of an Iroquois village.
What better time to learn about the Native American culture than a time like this. Not only has it given an opportunity for a mother to spend time with her child, but it has opened an opportunity to bring a much deeper understanding of today’s feast to a generation still filled with questions and curiosity.
While the Indians that shared their meal with the pilgrims at Plymouth Rock may not have been Iroquois, they too, were part of a nation of tribes. I don’t know if there is truly a “pure American” other than we were born here, because many of us trace our heritage back to other countries, and some of us to those Indian Nations that were here long before Christopher Columbus discovered our new homeland.
As I write this, I can hear the sounds of kids helping prepare dishes, and soon the turkey will burst with flavor from the oven.
Thanksgiving was the gathering of the first yield of crops that had been harvested.
This day was prepared for long in advance.
It started with the sowing of seeds.
Like the planting of those first crops, many of us tend our families rather than our gardens.
And on this day, your home may be like mine.
My home doesn’t look like something out of the cover of a magazine, it appears lived in.
I haven’t attempted to replicate any thing from Pintrest to impress our family. One of these days, if I ever have to cook a turkey, that should be impressive enough.
Not because I’m a bad mother, or a bad hostess.
Because like that tribe of Indians and those first pilgrims that came to the new world, my family works together to provide for our family.
There is a sock at the end of the couch in our living room. One of my kids is walking around with one foot bare. There are books and crayons on the floor near the television. Another child of mine has been creating art. There is a timer beeping and feet tromping down the hall– another dish is ready.
I hear the voices containing questions and laughter.
As I type, I smile. Not because I’ve once more escaped the duty of having to cook a turkey,but because the Indians who sat down with the pilgrims didn’t have timers or microwaves or ovens to help them prepare their meals let alone for this day.
They didn’t have a grocery store to collect their bounty for their meal, they hunted. They worked the land, and they survived the hardships of the land.
As I watch the last bit of paper tacked on the paper lodge created for my child’s model Indian village, I am thankful that the meaning of thanksgiving has become of one centered around bring families and communities together.
I’m sure there is another side to the stories of the day the pilgrims invited the Indians to dinner. Perhaps the Indian Nations saw it differently, especially after we over took their land–or so my child has pointed out to me after our many days of working on this model village.
I do not have permission to show you the model village, at least until it has been teacher approved and graded.
But on this day of feast and gathering, I am thankful for those first pilgrims that came to settle here. I’m thankful that throughout the generations after that first feast we are still able to access the bounty of resources our nation uses to provide for the needs of our people. I’m thankful for those who have come into our lives and those currently in our lives that grace us and bless us with their presence. And while not all of us may have yielded abundant crops this year, we are able to survive much better today as they did coming over on the Mayflower.
May your bounty of blessings continue to be bountiful.