So I’ve realized that “Thanksgiving” is … not exactly the greatest most authentic holiday, not just because of the obvious consumerism, but also because it trivializes and appropriates Native American … well everything. There’s a blog post from the National Museum of the American Indian that says it much better, from someone who has much more right than I do to speak on the subject. It’s written by “Dennis W. Zotigh (Kiowa/San Juan Pueblo/Santee Dakota Indian) is a member of the Kiowa Gourd Clan and San Juan Pueblo Winter Clan and a descendeant of Sitting Bear and No Retreat, both principal war chiefs of the Kiowas. Dennis works as a writer and cultural specialist at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C..” I hope you’ll read what he wrote. I had to include his credentials because … you did you read them?!
Anyway – here’s my otherwise awful contribution. I wanted it to look like kidart – so … heh I think the words are much worse than the image. Regardless I hope you all had a lovely holiday, ate lots of delicious food, and get all the deals your heart hopes for. And if you have a bit extra to buy me a gift … well that’s just gravy. 😉
Hello my friends! To close out my year of Smithsonian Heritage Month posts, we’ve got Dee Tenorio!!! You might think “haven’t we seen her before for this?” And yes! You have! Which is kinda cool to my mind, right? Extra double heritage! 😀 Please give Dee a warm welcome!
When Indians Feast…
I’m an Indian—Chumash, Apache and a wee bit of Maidu, though nowadays, everyone just calls me Native American—so as you can imagine, that makes Thanksgiving a little complicated. It’s hard to celebrate a day that is universally recognized as the day that sealed the fate of my people. As a kid, the story of saving the pilgrims was told less as a unity tale and more of a cautionary one: no good deed goes unpunished. You gotta be careful who you help and all that. It’s understandable, of course, that the elder Indians wanted us to learn from what was considered the mistakes of the past. There wasn’t many of us left and lets face it, historically Indians had a habit of believing what they were told and then getting burned for it…literally.
So, let’s go ahead and picture young Dee trying to reconcile her culture with today’s society. Teachers didn’t like it when I protested wearing a paper pilgrim hat in second grade. They were less happy that I felt making a paper headband with two feathers stapled on was a racial stereotype and that a girl wearing a full on headdress was not only wrong but bordering on blasphemous. No, I could not bring up the small pox or that the pilgrims eventually turned on the Indians who saved them. We were supposed to think on the importance of the one day they came together in peace and harmony.
But it wasn’t that simple for me. The whole time, the lessons in my head fought with what was in front of me. Thanksgiving is bad….juicy turkey. Thanksgiving is bad….cute turkey parade! Thanksgiving is bad….smells so goooooooooood! Thanksgiving is bad….two days off school!
Clearly, a compromise had to be made.
Thankfully, Mom had the answer…she always does. Thus, our family created “Turkey Day”. It’s not thanksgiving to us, it’s the day we eat a hell of a lot of inexpensive turkey, watch a ton of movies and pretty much don’t move except to get more pie. Sure, it’s pretty much what everyone else does, but the root of it doesn’t feel like betrayal to our people this way. It’s about being together, pooling our resources so all of us have more than enough to eat and laughing together for hours on end. It’s how my family celebrates that we’re still here. It’s also how we plot surviving Christmas, but that’s another story…
Thank you, Dee, for this post. I think it brings up a lot of issues people just gloss over, or don’t even know (remember?) – especially with how this holiday has turned to consumerism. A good reminder to think of others, and reflect.
It’s been a long year of many unplanned things. I started working on Smithsonian Heritage Month features in 2012, and I never imagined it’d turn out like this. I’m glad I went on this journey of exploration and I’m thankful you were all with me on it. Forward and such!
Thanksgiving is a nice time of year for people to reflect, and spend time with their loved ones. To say what they’re grateful for, and what is good in their lives.
This year, I’m also celebrating American Indian/Native American Heritage Month so I feel like I’d be remiss if I just posted a picture of pie topped with whipped cream. (Which I considered – cuz that I could do, as opposed to a kid turkey hand craft thing.)
I think this is important to consider too, from National Geographic Kids! (I feel like it would’ve been important if we had been taught this too…)
Native Americans and Thanksgiving
The peace between the Native Americans and settlers lasted for only a generation. The Wampanoag people do not share in the popular reverence for the traditional New England Thanksgiving. For them, the holiday is a reminder of betrayal and bloodshed. Since 1970, many native people have gathered at the statue of Massasoit in Plymouth, Massachusetts each Thanksgiving Day to remember their ancestors and the strength of the Wampanoag.
So, I hope you have a lovely holiday. I also hope you consider a little bit of the history too. Be well. <3
Hi everyone! Liz is here with a wonderful and fitting guest post. I really don’t have anything to add to this, other than Liz is awesome, and I’m really glad she and her family and friends are ok. <3
This spring, my husband and I purchased a second home on a lagoon off the bay near Atlantic City, on the coast of New Jersey. Over the summer, my family and I enjoyed swimming in the lagoon and bay, fishing, and boating, as well as the Atlantic City Boardwalk and local beaches. It was idyllic and amazing, and it was like a mini vacation every weekend.
Then a few weeks ago, we got news that a hurricane was headed directly for the shore, and by all reports it would be worse than any hurricane before. We spent the weekend before it hit getting the house ready for the storm. We put our furniture up on tables, emptied the fridge, and turned off the power to prevent surges. Our town had an evacuation order for 4 p.m. We said goodbye to our neighbors, who were going to “stick it out” instead of evacuating. I remember looking out the back of the SUV as we pulled away from the house and wondering if our street – our house – would ever be the same.
We spent the next two days suspended in a frightening sort of limbo, as we wondered if our family, friends, and neighbors had made it safely through, and if our home was still standing. We felt completely helpless. We were safe in our inland home on the Jersey side of Philadelphia, and didn’t even lose power. We were so fortunate. Amazingly, incredibly fortunate.
My husband spent Monday night on his cell, answering texts from family and friends and keeping everyone updated. When the Hurricane was at its worst point and we were unable to help anyone, it was a terrible feeling. We stayed up that night until the high tide had reached its highest point and didn’t go any higher. Only when we knew that the flood waters were as high as they would go, and our family and friends were okay, did we go to bed, our hearts heavy and our minds still reeling. Just a foot higher, and my brother-in-law’s home would have flooded. My mother-in-law had water almost to her front door. Our neighbors had four feet of water in the garage of their two-story home, just inches away from coming into their house.
I know what many of you are thinking. Why didn’t they leave? And the truth is, I can’t answer that. For our neighbors and family members who stuck it out, I can only tell you that they told us later that they didn’t know it would get that bad. They hadn’t anticipated just how violent and destructive the storm was actually going to be as the water surged over the lagoons, submerging cars parked in the street, floating boats away from the homes and docks, and destroying so very much.
I grew up in Ohio. I’ve been in so many tornadoes that they don’t even worry me. Hear the siren? Head to the basement. A tornado is a terrifying, destructive force that moves quickly. But a hurricane? That’s a guest that stays far too long and causes unimaginable damage. You can’t possibly predict what a hurricane will do, and that’s what makes them so dangerous. People will wait and wait, saying that they’ve been through so many and nothing ever happened to them before. And that’s the problem. Familiarity breeds contempt. A newbie to hurricanes like myself finds them terrifying on a cellular level. I want to leave New Jersey and go back to safe Ohio. But people who have lived here for a long time or grew up here, are the ones that stayed behind, trusting the past hurricanes to be a good judge for Sandy. But they weren’t. And the sad, sad truth is that people died, homes and belongings were destroyed… because you just can’t fully predict what nature can do.
A few days ago, I went to see our home, which had to be completely gutted to remove the damage that four feet of bay water did to it. The streets of our shore town are cluttered with furniture, flooring, and debris, sometimes piled so high you can’t see the houses behind it. When I walked through the door and saw the walls missing, the flooring pulled up, and the kitchen entirely dismantled, I first expected to feel sad. The house has character. It’s survived forty-some years without ever having it’s walls cut apart by contractors, or it’s sink pulled out of the wall.
But I wasn’t sad. I was thankful. I’m thankful that the house itself still stands and our boat is still on the trailer in our yard. I’m thankful that my neighbors across the street found shelter in another neighbor’s two-story home to escape the flood waters. And I’m mostly thankful that my children, my husband, and my in-laws and their families are all safe, too. What I kept reminding myself as I surveyed the destruction around the shore town was that things can be replaced, but people can’t.
So during this time of thankfulness, I urge you to do what I’m going to do, and look around the dinner table and just be thankful.
And… well, because I’m me, and today is THE BIG GAME… and I think Liz will be okay with it… 😀
I have this special fondness for Thanksgiving being on the 24th of November. There’s no particular rhyme or reason, but it just seems right to me. Like Thanksgiving is meant to be on the 24th. Sure, sometimes it’s on different days – that’s how the calendar works. I’m sure each and every one of us also has something to be thankful for. Sure, some of us have it better than others. (And most of us reading this blog have it better than many parts of the world… but that’s a dangerous game to play.)
I don’t know what it’s like to go to bed hungry. I never lived with anyone growing up except my two parents. My mom stayed home with us kids while my dad worked. My brother and I had closets full of clothes, shoes, and toys. We were warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Now, I can say that my children don’t know what it’s like to be hungry or cold or wonder where their parents are. I know that we’re blessed and I’m grateful every day for the life we enjoy. And I’m never more aware of just how blessed we really are until I see programs like 20/20s report on the Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation’s children. My nine year old daughter Rachel and I sat together and watched the show. Throughout, she kept saying “it’s so sad”.
The first thing she said to me when it was over was, “Mom, I want to send them my hats.” We looked up the websites mentioned on the 20/20 website, settling on one that would accept hats and gloves and also books for children of all ages. That weekend, we went shopping and purchased hats, gloves, and books (baby, toddler, and elementary age) to add to the freshly washed, gently used items we had at home.
I told her that there were several hundred kids on the reservation that had little or no winter clothes. She looked down at the hats and then up at me with her big blue eyes and said, “We only have six.”
I gave her a hug and said, “Six isn’t a big number, but those six kids will be thankful to get those hats this winter. So it might not seem like a big deal, but it will be a big deal to a handful of kids.”
I know that there are many people who did more than we did – who gave money or boxes of clothes and supplies; but I couldn’t look at my daughter and say – well we can only do “x” and it won’t matter in the whole scheme of things. Because in truth, every little bit counts, but only if the “bits” make it where they’re needed. We did what we could and tried to fill a need as we were able.
“Grown men can learn from very little children—for the hearts of little children are pure. Therefore, the Great Spirit may show them many things that older people miss.” Black Elk
Today, I’m thankful and humbled to be part of the romance community, where I get to meet and mingle with wonderful people like you. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope you have a wonderful day. <3
Erm, so you know this was supposed to go live last week. And Leslie Dicken’s excerpt was supposed to go up today. That… obviously didn’t happen – so my apologies to you all, and to Nikki Duncan especially, who was very understanding and kind. Although I should say I did this on purpose, right? Because a “being thankful” post is much for fitting for this week. 😉 So yes. It was all part of my master plan. >.>
It’s not my “common practice” to include author photos, but, you have to agree that Nikki is ridiculously adorable there, right? Love it! So without further ado, the post!
It’s about that time of year. You know, where we gather around a table with family and friends and talk about the things we’re thankful for. Our Thanksgiving is going to be a little different this year, so I thought I’d share my top ten thanks here.
1. I get to write, which I love, and be published.
2. For a publisher and editor I love.
3. For rockin’ awesome covers. The latest of which are Tangled in Tulle and Illicit Intuitions.
4. For family who distracts me from work just enough to keep me from staying buried all the time.
5. For Martial Arts coaches who take it easy on me when kicking my butt. See videos here.
6. For a hubby who supports my writing as well as my Big Red habits (it’s a soft drink).
7. For the conferences I attend and the friends I make at them.
8. For every day my computer decides to NOT crash. Those days are not fun. 9. Even for smartass kids who think they’re funny and seem intent on sending me into cardiac arrest with their bizarre deformities that require stressful doctor visits and apparently painful surgeries and then there are the death defying stunts performed while driving down the road.
10. For the fact everyone is healthy and happy and mostly sane.
Tell me what you’re thankful for and be entered into a drawing for an eARC of Tangled in Tulle. The winner will be chosen at Random and announced Wednesday the 16th to make sure everyone has a chance to play.
Isn’t that a great cover, and an adorable title too? As for the winner I’ll also put the name in a new post as well, but you know it’s always good to check back at the blog. ;D I’m going to have to think about my “10 Thankful Fors…”