Before a problem can be healed it must first be squarely seen, understood and accepted. So how exactly did we acquire all of the bounty that we are grateful for on Thanksgiving Day? Having just finished reading Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation in the Warwick Advertiser I found some archaic opinions.
Firstly, “Harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theater of military conflict.” Everywhere is everywhere, without exception. His statement implies that peace and harmony can coexist with conflict. This is a manifest absurdity! Harmony exists only in the absence of conflict. Conflict and harmony are antonyms, not synonyms.
Secondly, “They are the gracious gifts of the most high God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins hath nevertheless remembered Mercy.” Many of us now understand that God is perfect benevolence incapable of any of our negative traits. God created the workings of the universe so that we are naturally punished by our misdeeds or sins if you prefer. Our universe is reciprocal in nature.
The Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is golden as it is the very key to the workings of our universe. Jesus put it another way, saying essentially, what we sow in thought, word and deed is exactly the same as we will reap. For instance, one would not sow tomato seeds and expect to reap cucumbers.
On Thanksgiving Day while we are overindulging on our material abundance, our indigenous sisters and brothers observe a day of mourning as they have lost everything to us, civilized white man. At the very first Thanksgiving it was our indigenous brothers and sisters who provided all of the food as we had none. They welcomed us to this Great land of theirs. They taught us how to farm, fish, hunt and survive here. Then we (white man) committed an act of genocide. Genocide is the systematic, planned annihilation of a racial, political, or cultural group.
To this day we continue to destroy what they consider to be sacred; our Earth, God as they understand, their families, friends and their sacred burial grounds. All of God’s creation is sacred to them. Just imagine how you would feel if someone proposed putting a pipeline through Arlington National Cemetery. All of the material abundance that we are overindulging in this day are ill gotten goods. We stole them and wiped out a very spiritual culture that knew how to treat our Earth, with the reverence and respect she deserves. Yet somehow we seem to be okay with what we did to them.
The only way to peace and harmony as referenced from Pope John Paul ll’s sermon titled “Purification of Memory” is to make conscious reparations for our crimes against humankind. Otherwise we are doomed to unconsciously repeat them.
One look at the history of humankind clearly illustrates this truth. We are to this day horrified by the genocide called The Holocaust, as we should be. Yet we did the very same thing here in North America. Are we going to continue to be the primary perpetrators of our own demise? Are we going to continue to celebrate our ill gotten goods under the false pretense that they are God given?
We cannot and will not continue this misguided tradition but will observe a day of mourning with our indigenous members of humankind and later have a reasonable sized meal with family and friends. Remembering throughout the day that we also stole the celebration of Thanksgiving from our indigenous brothers and sisters of North America. A suggestion for some good Thanksgiving reading: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown and 1491: New Revelations of The Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann.
ERIC KNIERIEMEN & VIVIAN NICKLESS MCELLIGOTT