Canku Ota Logo

Canku Ota

Canku Ota Logo

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


November 30, 2002 - Issue 75


pictograph divider


Brain Food

by Lazorletter

CornucopiaWell, its that time of year again, and may I say, it comes all to quickly these days. We have barely put our pumpkins to rest, and finished off the last of the Holloween candy before the stores have a mixture of Pilgrims and Christmas trees on display. The commercials on TV are geared towards gift giving and bankruptcy, with must have toys, electronic gadgets, and jewelry, all with batteries sold separately.

Here in Minnesota, the landscape is a lovely brown, with threatening skies of gray. Each day we wonder if this is the day that the snow will arrive. Its cold and somewhat gloomy, with morning frost on everything. I notice that morning prayers are actually seen in my breath as they float upward. The frost sparkles in the morning sun, and there seems to be a bit of echo in the air. The birds line the fence and glare at the empty bird feeders. I believe they are beginning to set up a schedule of winter feeding stops. I believe my feeders are among the first on the list.

Shopping seems to replace summer activities, and as the days melt away, it tends to become a bit frantic filled with a mixture of emotions. The children mingle in the toy isles, inspecting all the possibilities, while parents fill there carts with everything from Turkey napkins to scented candles groaning every now and then at price tags. In short, the children walk a little lighter, and the parents walk a little heavier.

Being raised in a white family, and now living in a traditional native home all to often causes enteral conflict, and requires me to seek balance. However this time of year is beyond doubt, the hardest. Thanksgiving of my childhood, bumps heads with the facts I have grown to know. This holiday above all, is one of the hardest for those of us that were engulfed in the white world. My memory floats back my schools days and the preparations of each class. The teacher would decide who were pilgrims and who were Indians. She would assign each child to construct a custom made of colored construction paper, bits of string, and if you were really lucky cardboard. The costumes were simple and very effective for the performance of the Thanksgiving Day play. The topic in most classrooms, of course, would be that now famous dinner that red man and white man sat down to eat. Each sharing what they had, and all enjoying the day with song, food, and friendship. After the play, all would enjoy some watered down punch and hard cookies while the parents mingled. The children drunk with the thought of no school for several days, and the up coming feast and visiting realitives,would run around adorned in paper feathers and cardboard buckles taped to their shoes. None of us really had a clue why we celebrated this holiday, and if asked the meaning of Thanksgiving we would reply quickly that it was a time to be thankful period. If anyone really knew the ugly hard truth, it was never brought up. So my childhood years were spent oblivious to the true meaning of this day. I never gave it much thought.

As an adult, I have spent a lot of time sorting out, trying to understand and realizing why I never felt like I belonged. I went through motions, and lived each day as best I could, but never really felt connected. Celebrating Thanksgiving is very different for me now. We have a wonderful feast sharing it with family and friends both here and those past. After dinner and as soon as we can walk, we head to the annual pow wow held at the Indian Center and overdose ourselves with drums, dancing and mingling. On occasion discussions of those hard ugly facts would erupt, and yes, a few funny remarks would be made. However the celebration would be in the same spirit of the Thanksgivings of my childhood. The difference now is the reasons for the celebrating.

It goes without saying, that there is no one with buckles taped to their shoes, and that famous dinner is rarely mentioned unless as a joke. We celebrate the feast, and are thankful for our plenty. We celebrate each other and the common bond that makes all our nations related. We celebrate our culture and its dance of grace and beauty. But mostly, we remember and mourn those lost people that were killed and branded savages. We mourn those ships that brought the destruction of our way of life. We mourn the ugly truth of deeds done, hidden, dormant.

The children of today, of all races, should not be robbed of the joys that holidays bring. They should not be laden with heavy truths and burdens of guilt. However, I for one believe that the truth should be an automatic part of their lives. The true story of that day so long ago should be and needs to be told. Hopefully among our children the seed of right, honor, and decency will be planted. But mostly, the opportunity to learn from past mistakes might be the greatest gift of all. Peace

pictograph divider


Home PageFront PageArchivesOur AwardsAbout Us

Kid's PageColoring BookCool LinksGuest BookEmail Us


pictograph divider

  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.

Canku Ota Logo   Canku Ota Logo

The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the

Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 of Paul C. Barry.

All Rights Reserved.

Thank You

Valid HTML 4.01!