November 21

Happy Giving Day! – A Native Perspective

As life long learners, we are always looking to get deeper into the things we take for granted and explore history and our world with an open mind and an open heart.  This Thanksgiving post, with several things about Thanksgiving, from our Goddess Living site was just too good not to share.  ENJOY!!

Happy Giving Day

What if every day was for Thanks and today was a special day of Giving? This is the very possibility, that a conversation with our newest Goddess Guide and Navajo sister Ceceilia Tso, opened up.

When I asked Ceceilia how Native Americans experience Thanksgiving, she immediately replied "We Hate it".

This tumultuous year, filled with things like the Global Pandemic, #BlackLivesMatter and an intense US Election, has propelled many of us into uncomfortable and conscious raising inquires. My conversation with Ceceilia was no exception.

The question I asked her, like so many I have asked this year, wouldn't have happened had I not taken on learning about my own misconceptions and un-examined biases.

This Special Holiday edition of the Goddess Inquirer is dedicated to our Native sisters and the ongoing growth that comes with being willing to ask ourselves and others the uncomfortable questions and listen to the answers without judgement. Not to mention the generosity of those willing to share their authentic and unvarnished experiences.

The following articles are an opportunity to un-conceal the myths and murky past, creating the room for understanding, reconciliation and new possibilities ... like Giving Day?!

The kinds of possibilities that unite us as people!

~ Anne Peterson, Founder, Goddess Living 

The Truth ... Why I Hate Thanksgiving

~ From Ceceilia Tso, Navajo Woman & Goddess Guide

It has always been part of my Native American culture to give thanks every day.

As a child, I didn't really understand the meaning behind the dominant American culture’s holiday of Thanksgiving as portrayed in school and on television; the commercialization, the romanticized meaning behind the holiday. I didn't understand why people would want to dress up and pretend to be something that they're not; to honor a story that is untrue about the pilgrims and Indians.

For me, the best part of Thanksgiving was the way our families came together, united by our own traditional foods from our cultures.

However, the true story is much more gruesome. We were massacred by the millions and the land we inhabited was stolen. The treaties that were signed by our ancestors are the most disregarded treaties in this country.

The blatant disregard and oppression of the indigenous people persists today. It is fueled mostly by misinformation and the continued false narratives about us as people and our history. Thanksgiving is a prime example. I wonder, when will the history books be corrected and the full history be taught to us in school?

Did you know that we are the most stolen, raped, murdered and killed peoples in the United States? Four out of five Native women are affected by violence today and face murder rates that are 10 times the national average according to the US Department of Justice. There is a movement called the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (#MMIW) that has been happening for years in the United States and Canada.

Like my ancestors who were decimated by smallpox and other diseases, the current pandemic's rate of infection is 3.5% higher than that of non-Hispanic white persons. My nation, the Navajo Nation, alone has lost more than 600 tribal members.

So rather than “celebrating a fictitious and romanticized story” we could first learn about the true story and then take a page from our neighbors to the north.

The First Nations people of Canada had a national public acknowledgement and apology from their federal government. This has never happened here in the USA, but it could. Canada, through the process of Peace and Reconciliation, is now taking steps to honor and acknowledge its First Nations people and their land.

That would be a day of Giving … acknowledging another's pain and experience is one of the most profound gifts one can give.

As for me, today …

Thanksgiving Day, and everyday, I honor my people, the medicine people and our healers. I honor our elders, grandmothers, code talkers and military warriors. I honor our violated and abused women and children and our children who are given away or stolen. I honor our family members who persevered every day even when enduring oppression in this country. I honor my ancestors. Diné (Navajo - "The People" ), Navajo Nation, First Nations and all Indigenous people.

Thanksgiving Myths - 

Fact Checked

~ By Maya Salam

"Thanksgiving facts and Thanksgiving myths have blended together for years like so much gravy and mashed potatoes, and separating them is just as complicated."

Read the full story HERE.

Native American Girls Describe the REAL History Behind Thanksgiving!

~ By Teen Vogue

In this video, 6 Native American girls share with us their authentic experience of Thanksgiving. The ending can be hard to watch AND seeing the impact of things on others is critical to healing. Often witnessing the impact is the only action that needs to be taken.   (2 min)

What can we do?

The biggest thing I notice when opening my eyes and ears to new information, like what we are sharing here, is my sense of guilt and shame. This is mostly expressed by the thought "but what am I supposed to do about it?"

If you have read and watched what we have provided here, you have taken the first and most difficult step ... to learn.

Here are some small but important steps already being taken. 

  • Learn about whose land you are on ...

“When we talk about land, land is part of who we are. It’s a mixture of our blood, our past, our current, and our future. We carry our ancestors in us, and they’re around us. As you all do.”
– Mary Lyons (Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe)

Gov. Doug Ducey, of Arizona, signed a bill to commission a task force to study the high rates of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in his state. Arizona has the third highest rate in the nation .... Read the story

We can get behind these National and Political actions, support #MMIW AND contribute your time, your money and your vote to organizations and actions that forward the rights of Indigenous People.

Introducing Goddess Guide

Ceceilia Tso

Ceceilia is a teacher, trainer and student of life. As the single mom of two grown children she is currently in the final stages of completing a Phd program and launching her consulting and leadership development practice. 

Ceceilia has already developed herself as a trainer for Native and First Nation communities delivering the "Strengthening Families Program"  work healing families.