My mother is half Native American. Creek Indian, to be exact. I can see the traces of her history in her high cheek bones, broad-pointy nose, and beautiful skin. Those same features I remember from her grandmother's face. We played in Maw's front yard for hours while Mom sat in the hot front room catching up on life. I can still smell her house and I still see the quilts and Cabbage Patch dolls resting perfectly on each of her twin beds.
It's easy to become a forgotten people when you account for 2% of a nation's population. It's even easier to be forgotten when you existed and thrived BEFORE a land was "discovered" as American History has mis-educated youngin's for years. Dear Columbus, you didn't FIND anything. You failed at your original mission and stumbled upon a land that was already thriving. People were already here.
THANK GOD those same people helped the pilgrims survive a rough winter or, well, one could only imagine what would've happened to them. THANK GOD those people were sharers - of information, of land, of food.
Yea, we have Creek Indian running in my family's blood. No, we don't use this holiday to mourn the downfall of a people. Yes, we celebrate Thanksgiving. No, my father never let us go to school and just absorb what we were taught. He would tell us the real history of Columbus' journey and the degradation of a beautiful people NATIVE to this great land long before our books told us it was discovered. He also taught us to have a spirit of gratitude all year long... that one day isn't dedicated to thanks. It is, however, an opportunity for families to come together and thank God for another year with each other. One year, Mom had us make cards to thank those who serve in forgotten roles of our lives... the trash collectors, the mail deliverers, the lunch ladies, the office administrators at our school, the bus driver, the Sunday School teacher, the ushers, the kitchen committee at church and more. She explained that some people do things we don't ever think about. She allowed us to brainstorm who those people were in our lives. She handed us paper and supplies with the instructions to NEVER FORGET the power of a thank you.
I am excited to continue this tradition with the little people who sit at the kids' table this year.
Thanksgiving is here. Take time to thank those who have been forgotten.
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