A GRATEFUL NATION TAKES ROOT
“Lastly and chiefly, the way to prosper and achieve good success is to make yourselves all of one mind for the good of your country and your own, and to serve and fear God the giver of all goodness.”
The charter of the Virginia Company
Although the last and weakest of his creations, we were given the greatest gift of all the power to dream. Thus, Kitchi Manitou has brought his dream to life.
We will be celebrating Thanksgiving this year on the Turtle Mountain Reservation, the Rez. The smallest, most densely populated reservation, home to the Ojibwe, Ojibwa, Chippewa, or Saulteaux, the Anishinaabe people. Multiple people have translated Anishinaabe to mean many things; I am kindred to “The Men or People Who Live upon the Earth in the Right Way.” Anishinaabe is commonly translated to mean “Original Man” or the “Good Humans.”
As Europeans came into the plains of Canada and the Dakota, they intermarried with the original people; they mixed blood and became known as the “Metis” or mixed blood. The names of the families tell the influence of French Canadian and Anishinaabe: Gourneau, Peltier, Laverdure, and Poitra. I do not pretend to be a well-read historian of the people of the Turtle Mountain Band; I do have some life-long Chippewa brothers and sisters who have told me stories of life on the Rez. More about the history of Turtle Mountain people at, Turtle Mountain Chippewa Heritage Center website:
It seems a dichotomy, celebrating American Thanksgiving on the Rez; a charter of the Virginia Company. On December 4, 1619, settlers stepped ashore at Berkeley Hundred along the James River and, by the proprietor’s instruction that “the day of our ship’s arrival … shall be yearly and perpetually kept as a day of thanksgiving,” celebrated the first official Thanksgiving Day. The date has arbitrarily morphed to the last Thursday of November. Thanksgiving is better known for the settlement established thirteen years after the first European settlement in 1607 at Jamestown— Plymouth. These “settlements” were an acceptable term for invasion of the Americas and displacement of the millions of original people of this land. Our history, the Good, Bad, and ugly of it—this is our history.
The Ojibwa have always been thankful for what the Great Creator gives them, the story of Kitchi Manitou.
Kitchi Manitou then took four parts of Mother Earth and blew into them using a Sacred Shell. From this union of the Four Sacred Elements and his breath, a man was created.
It is said that Kitchi Manitou then lowered the man to the Earth. Thus, a man was the last form of life to be placed on the Earth. From this Original Man came the A-nish-i-na’-be people.
Kitchi Manitou created us in his image. We are natural people. We are a part of Mother Earth. We live in a brotherhood with all that is around us. Although the last and weakest of his creations, we were given the greatest gift of all the power to dream. Thus, Kitchi Manitou has brought his dream to life.
We celebrate God’s gifts to humans; not a date ancestors landed in this nation. We are showing our Gratitude for God’s bounty given, God’s love of humankind his redemption. This day is a day of Gratitude. The Gratitude of the nation to God for his blessings—a celebration void of culture and skin color– all equal under God. Lets us commune and break bread to remember—
And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Luke 22:19
Taking the seven loaves and the fish, He gave thanks and broke them. Then He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. ~ Matthew 15:36
“Lastly and chiefly the way to prosper and achieve good success is to make yourselves all of one mind for the good of your country and your own, and to serve and fear God the giver of all goodness, for every plantation which our father hath not planted shall be rooted out.” ~ The charter of the Virginia Company
Give Thanks and Be Grateful to all humans together.