Thanks and Giving during American Indian Heritage Month – a Personal View
My View on November
November is traditionally, as most people know it, the month of the year, where we remember to be Thankful for the blessings in our lives, when all too often, we forget that we are blessed with so much. November is also American Indian Heritage Month. And as we close the chapter on this November of Two Thousand Eighteen, I would like to offer a different, yet poignant view on Thanksgiving than what you are accustomed to.
American Indian Heritage Month
November was first declared American Indian Heritage Month by President George H. W. Bush back in August 1990, and it was a landmark Bill honoring America’s Tribal people. The Bill and the month aim to provide a platform for the Native peoples in America to share their culture, traditions, music, ways, and lifestyle. Further, the goal is to Native people the opportunity to express to their community current concerns.
It seems so odd to me that someone would choose to make November American Indian Heritage Month. Although I celebrate Thanksgiving, I celebrate it in terms of being thankful for what my family and I have, not the traditional Thanksgiving holiday. Especially because what we have come to know as the story of Thanksgiving does not include factual Native American history. Thanksgiving, has become a period of remembering and mourning for Native Americans, of how a gift of generosity to strangers became theft of land, corn, and the death of so many Native people from disease.
My American Indian Heritage
Since it is American Indian Heritage Month, I’d like to take a moment a share a little about my heritage and how my family keeps the culture and traditions alive. I am a descendant of the Oglala Lakota Sioux tribe, which are located in the plains of the North and South Dakota. I can remember as a very small girl going to Pow Wows going to Pow Wows with my parents, listening to the colorfully dressed men singing and chanting and the deep sound of the beating drum. The sound was magical, calming to me, even as a child. The fancy dancers would be walking around or dancing in their competitions – their costumes were amazing and perfectly made, the perfect lines of beads, fringe, feathers, shades of leather and suede. To this day I still visit Pow Wows and watch the fancy dancers in awe of their costumes and incredible footwork. I enjoy walking from stand to stand, looking and perusing the handmade crafts, jewelry, clothing, knick knacks, art, sculptures, and other items for sale from peoples of various tribes.