I am continuing a personal tradition to give a few words and a song when I am hosting Thanksgiving. These are the words that I am sharing at my table:
First I would like to acknowledge that here, we are enjoying our festivities on Kalapuya land. In words from David Harrelson (cultural director for the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde), “Corvallis, Or., is located within the traditional homelands of the Marys River or Champenafu Band of the Kalapuya. Following the Willammette Valley Treaty of 1855 (Kalapuya etc. treaty), Kalapuya people were forcibly removed to reservations in Western Oregon. Today, living descendents of these people are a part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Community of Oregon and the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians.” End quote.
This Thanksgiving, I’d like us to remember, and not turn our eyes from the fact that brutal massacres of Indigenous folk of the East Coast were indeed among the first causes for the creation of the first Thanksgivings, and that the myth of the peaceful co-existence of the Pilgrims and the Indians was mainly fabricated. Sweeping this under the rug makes our giving Thanks hollow and meaningless. I think it is important for us to mourn and grieve and acknowledge the ways that past Thanksgivings have been born from cruelty and lies and have been used to promote an unfair and domineering culture. Only through this acknowledgement can we begin to make reparations and truly celebrate with true gratitude and give thanks fully and with love and care for all.
I’m thankful for all of you and for us to be able to live on and be provided for by this land. I’m thankful to be here on Turtle Island where I can learn from and make amends to those who have resided here for thousands of years in greater harmony with the land and all her living and unliving beings.
I like this song that I am sharing partly because in the language it fosters a sense, and is an act, of reciprocity. It honors the beings directly that have given life and beauty to us, rather than addressing a separate god who has given us gifts that we thank “him” for, like they are ours to take, or a commodity to use.
Song: Thank you for your fruits, tree, thank you for your fruits. Thank you for your fruits, tree, thank you for your fruits. Your healing, your healing, your healing fruits. Your healing, your healing, your healing fruits.
Thank you for your berries, vines, thank you for your berries.....
(can change “berries” and “vines” to whatever you want, and also change “healing” into words such as “nurturing” etc.)