The Unsung Secret Of Thanksgiving
Posted by Nick Polizzi
Every public school in America teaches some rendition of the Thanksgiving story, but as often happens over the course of history, the facts have become skewed and much of the essence has been lost. While this late November holiday gives some credit to our Native American predecessors, it tends to overlook an important detail that is at the very heart of tribal culture.
During that cold autumn of 1621, the unfathomable hospitality that was shown by Wampanoag and Pawtuxet tribes to the Pilgrims was not a random act of kindness. It was actually the modus operandi for most pre-Columbian tribal communities when encountering strangers in need. To the early European settlers, this warm welcome was absolutely unexpected and is why we newcomers still celebrate the unlikely stroke of good fortune – but we’re missing a bigger point.
Upon encountering the frail and bewildered explorers from across the sea who were dying of malnutrition and exposure, why did the Wampanoag women so openly share their knowledge of the local flora of New England? Why did Pawtuxet men teach these desperate foreigners the tricks to hunting local game (which, by the way, was more often deer than turkey)?
It comes down to one word – respect. In Native American communities, one of the most fundamental teachings is that we must have unwavering respect for all living things, including other human beings. This single morsel of innate wisdom has been relied upon for millennia to steer communities in the direction of good, rather than fear-fueled mishap.
At some point in our lives, most of us are taught to be true to ourselves, to have patience, and to ALWAYS help others in need when we can, regardless of who they are. Yet, we often forget about this last item during our young and mid-adulthood, especially in today’s fast paced, career-oriented environment. Why?
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