Autumn is free-falling into winter already, and the Thanksgiving holiday is upon us again.
I celebrate this festive holiday pretty much like any other American. Well, pretty much like any other vegetarian American. Who also hates football. And refuses to own a TV. And who also is partly Indian (Native American) by direct family ancestry, and who was a supporter of the Indian activist occupation and reclamation of Alcatraz Island as a Gateway of Welcome to the entirety of the Free American Indian Homeland (ie Turtle Island, ie all of North America). That occupation by over 400 “Free Indians of All Tribes” lasted for 18 months, from just before Thanksgiving, November 1969, to June 1971, until U.S. Federal Marshals came with automatic rifles loaded and leveled and forcibly removed the peaceful, unarmed Indian occupants from their reclaimed island land.
My celebration of the holiday, since 1969, is always in this context. The conventional celebration of visiting and feasting is preceded by a day of more somber observance in recognition of the “forgotten” side, the hidden side, the tragic dark side, of the history of the holiday. Every since the Alcatraz occupy movement proclaiming the island as the Land of the Free Indians of All Tribes, and the Home of the Braves and their families, I have continued, along with millions of other Indians, fellow Métis (“Mixed Bloods”), and supporters, to annually observe what has been called by some “Unthanksgiving Day”—also known as National Day of Mourning and Reconciliation.
This is done with fasting, silent meditation, prayers, and more than a few tears, on the day before Thanksgiving (some years beginning as early as Monday or Tuesday), and ending at sunrise on Thursday, followed by the more or less conventional celebrations of visiting and feasting with family and friends, neighbors and strangers, as generally kept throughout the whole of our American society.
As we all know, Thanksgiving Day is said to be founded in large part as a memorial for the autumn day in 1621 when 91 members of the native Wampanoag tribe of Massachusetts and the 50 or so surviving English Pilgrim immigrants who had entered the nation the previous year joined together to enjoy a harvest feast which lasted three days. In addition to my Indian ancestors of several Native American nations, there are among my many other ancestral grandparents four who arrived in America in 1620 as immigrants from England on the Mayflower‘s first voyage. So my family has celebrated Thanksgiving Day right from its beginning 394 years ago.
Horrifically, three years after the Wampanoags had saved the uninvited newly arrived immigrants from all starving to death during the first winter, and two years after having shared their first Thanksgiving Day together, the Pilgrim Christian immigrants from England organized another harvest feast to which they invited their friendly Wampanoag hosts and saviors and many other Indians from several neighboring tribes to join them in celebrating their mutual “eternal friendship.” Shortly after the feasting began, over 200 of the Indian guests suddenly fell dead, having been secretly poisoned by their Christian hosts. The history of America’s Thanksgiving holiday quickly gets even worse and worse after that. (More on this sickening history of systematic genocide and ongoing terrorism later, but for now, let’s celebrate. Aho!
Join me in spirit on Wednesday then, if you wish. Along with millions of other concerned Americans, both Natives and immigrants, I’ll be privately praying and fasting from home as I do every year. Then let’s all remain joined together in spirit from wherever we are on the next day, Thursday, along with millions and millions of more Americans, both Natives and immigrants, when we all shall feast as we do every year. Happy Holidays, all y’all ! AHO!
Last year, I thoroughly enjoyed being taken out to Thanksgiving brunch by two of my lovely lady friends, A.S. and C.V. We feasted at a groovy, intimately tiny, family-owned-&-operated natural veggie eatery. We stayed through the top of the morning til the place closed up at 1 pm. Then we took a nice long, leisurely postprandial walk-‘n’-talk together, three abreast, arms around each others’ waists. It was a touchingly intimate holiday visit. Unfortunately, I’ve only been able to visit with each of these two dear women once or twice since then.
At one point on our walk, I was overcome with my fondness for A & made some declaration of the affection I felt. She stopped walking, turned her face up to mine and kissed me, but didn’t say anything afterward. This little exchange prompted C to declare with some exasperation, “For heaven’s sake, you two, why don’t you ever finally just get it together? I can’t understand you guys!” Neither of us knew quite what to say. Fond as we both are of one another, somehow things just never seemed to solidify that way. Mysteries in life abound.
Hard to believe an entire year has gone by already since then.
A. and C. in some ways are each others best friend. CV is an intensely earnest, loyal, spiritually sensitive and questing soul. She has a gift for healing and always sees only the good in others. A lovely & tenderly-strong woman and devoted single mom. We became friends through our mutual friendships with A.
Sweet A. is quite lovely & loving, strongly sensitive & perceptive. Earlier this year, she moved back home to NY to care for her parents. I miss her. A. was the first new friend I made after my dear beloved sweetheart passed on. A & I first met literally only 3 or 4 days later. My Beloved had said toward the very end, “Go out right away and mingle. Meet new people. Make new friends. Don’t be stuck. Don’t hold back. Embrace the future. Be open to love.” I will always have a very soft spot in my heart for A. She is such a fascinating & kind person. An original, with an always-curious intellect, a naturally sensuous verve, and is a creative and accomplished cook. She’s also an insightful and magical painter (MFA studio arts), world-traveled photographer, and a former modern-&-jazz dance trouper, among other good things.
When A & I first began to spent time together in earnest, I was afraid our age difference might be a little too great for us to feel completely comfortable relating closely to one another. And perhaps it has been a factor (?), though it has never seemed to be. Little did I know then that in the next 2-3 years I would go on to also date &/or find myself strongly crushing on a few other women, each one of whom was born later than A. The difference in age has not seemed to matter at all in my experience of spending time with each of these rather remarkable persons and in our sharing mutual interests & friendships and joy in getting to know and care about one another.
Becoming life-partners might be a different matter, of course, for any two persons.
But I see no reason why it necessarily should be the case even then, perhaps especially then. Stranger things have been known to happen. As real as such a consideration of age difference can be, there are other more important compatibility factors—mutual love, and mutual shared attunement, being on compatible “wave-lengths,” and all that. Other factors than age may be more significant in their impact on, or contribution to a dating friendship, romantic relationship or life-partnership. There are mysterious forces at work in bringing any couple together.
For Thanksgiving Day this year, I have accepted the earliest of a few invitations received to join friends and their families for feasting & celebrating. I’m looking forward to visiting with my friends G & R, a somewhat new-ish couple. G runs his own consulting firm and R has recently started working for the Uni. having given up on a job with The Gummit. Her main calling, though, is writing romance novels with a metaphysical twist. G & R met online last year. One of the amazing online dating/ matchmaking success stories. They really have made a good match, quickly-&-easily fitting together into a dynamic dyadic duo.
Last Christmas/Hannukah, R invited me to join them and her folks and kids for holiday dinner. Her parents were living in the coach-house, her three teens were half out of the house & on into their early college forays. But this year G & R are living alone together in a new place all their own. R’s kids are close-by but not too close, her folks close-by but not too close. R & G make it all seem simple and grown up. Impressive. Moving right along, they recently visited China and are already shopping for a vacationary second home in the mountains. They are playful, always gently joking & teasing a lot. Fun friends to have.
We share a love of books, an interest in history, philosophy, politics, and spiritual considerations—all with enough of a light touch, an overlap, and a difference of taste and views to keep things interesting. And an enjoyment of good food and good company. It also helps that R is from the old school of mom-mentored Jewish American home-cooking, resulting in a ton of holiday food to share, especially desserts. So off to R & G’s new place it is, next Thursday.
I’m planning to write more about Thanksgiving in the next few days, but for now,
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!
There is much to give thanks for, to be grateful for, so enjoy what is delightful and homey and delicious and convivial & celebratory about life, every day. We all have each other as friends and family, acquaintances and neighbors. As loved ones. As community, as planetary global family members. And that is the best and greatest thing. Dig it. Share it.
And just one day a year, eat til you sleep!
And here in the links below is a brief video and article about the Free Indian Land of All Tribes that was Alcatraz, and an article on the history of Thanksgiving. Learn thou (edge-you-muh-cate yo’ bad-ass self) and thrive! Emaho!
A little history of Alcatraz All Tribal Free Indian Home Land:
A little history of Thanksgiving Holiday: