Heritage Month

Heritage Month

Happy Native American Heritage Month for our Native American brothers and sisters!

This month of November has been different for me. I’ve been thinking more about, “How do Native Americans feel about Thanksgiving?”

Given the day also marks the National Day of Mourning.

Mourning and giving thanks.

I don’t think we can ignore each other’s pain.

Having empathy for one another is key to compassion. Compassion is a key to love.

Let’s unlock difficult conversations with those three keys: empathy, compassion, and love.

While watching a of Married at First Sight episode, one of the participants, Orion,  is a Native American man who expressed pain for himself and his people from the use of racial epithets or insensitivity.

I admit, most of my knowledge about Native Americans I learned while in elementary and high school. Other lessons I learned from television. Thankfully, some as an adult, have been very intentional by attending a pow-wow, reading, and listening. Yet, I can do more.

Orion spoke about being called “red” and the term “redskin.” I recalled our Nation changing the Nation’s Capital football team from “Redskins” to Washington Commanders. I heard it was an offensive term but not much more was said about it. Today, I educated myself.

I learned the slang term “redskin” is profane because it describes a scalped head of a Native American that would be used for sale.

What happened to us? What happened to the human condition to conceive such violence and then act upon it? Moreover, why are we not more mournful for what happened?

I think it’s tragic.

I think our nation will heal when we acknowledge and validate the pain of others who have suffered tragically from the devastating effects of ignorance.

When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of Native Americans with outstretched hands and hearts welcoming the English settlers.

Why did they fear? What did they fear? Their differences, yet we are one humanity.

Racial reconciliation requires a willing heart to confront lies that divide our humanity one from another. Pour some empathy, compassion, and love into the wounds caused to self and others.

What kind of heritage do we want to leave behind? What traditions or customs do we wish to keep? What are some old ways that need to die?

We must ask ourselves do we want our nation to perpetuate the ills of the past? Or, are we ready to dismantle racialism and its catastrophic horrors? What will we offer to one another? A hand of love, or a heart of hate? Will we stigmatize and perpetuate? Or, repent and celebrate?

If we want to heal from any condition, we must acknowledge the truth. The truth is we are all God’s children. No one is lesser than or greater than anyone.

We are One Earth, One Humanity.

The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” Psalm 24:1

“Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” Psalms 100:3

 

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