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Thanksgiving is a Native American tradition

Thanksgiving is a Native American tradition


Thoughts by Bubba Mountainlion, while roasting his first turkey!

Three states,  Massachusetts, Virginia and Florida now claim to have held the first Thanksgiving celebration. Whose Thanksgiving Festival, we might ask?  And how about the food they ate at these festivals?  They were almost entirely indigenous vegetables and meats.

There has been an attempt by some Native American political activists recently to put Thanksgiving in the same category as Columbus Day.  To me that is the same genre as Native Americans kneeling at the National Anthem, as if they are foreigners on somebody else’s land.  Thanksgiving only has to be politically incorrect holiday, if you allow it to be so.   The holding of communal feasts to give thanks to the Creator probably goes back thousands of years among indigenous peoples of North America.  The Creek Harvest Festival was usually held in mid-autumn after the dried corn cobs were harvested, but before the hunters went out for long periods in the woods. That would place it a couple weeks earlier than the Pilgrims first by-cultural feast, which was on November 21, 1621.

I couldn’t resist trying to roast a turkey, when the local supermarket was selling them for 48 cents a pound! Next year, I am determined to have a woman celebrating Thanksgiving with me. Maybe a mail order bride from Romania or Estonia? My dogs are getting bored with me. 

Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation on October 26, 1863, which is viewed as the first official recognition of a day of Thanksgiving.  A considerable period passed before his version of Thanksgiving evolved into merely a traditional day that families got back together to eat certain traditional foods.  It was during the late 1800s that New England historians linked Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Day to the bi-cultural harvest festival held by the Pilgrims.  This is what Lincoln wrote:

“It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea, and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.”

Therefore, be it resolved by Bubba Mountainlion . . .

Rather than wasting energy on whining, pouting and protesting, just declare Thanksgiving to be the high point of the celebration of Native American Heritage month . . . and act accordingly.   It’s not like One Eyed, One Horned Flying Purple People Eaters are going to claim Thanksgiving as their holiday.

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And now as a special treat from the People of One Fire,  the Greatest Thanksgiving Movie of all time . . .  Alice’s Restaurant

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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.



    Happy Thanksgiving Richard, Yes, Absolutely the Best Thanksgiving Movie of All time. A Super Delux Treat for us today Richard. We give Thanks for All the research that has been done and the knowledge you and the People of One Fire have passed on to us over the years. Along with sharing personal stories and photographs from your interesting life with us so we may gain better understanding from your experiences and perspective. I as well as many others I’m sure feel as if we know you even tho we have not met from your sharing with us. Thank you Richard.

    • Thank you sir! Well, my day ended on a comic note. At age 9 months, Prince McIntosh III, the herd dog pup, caught his first squirrel. However, he has not quite gotten the technique down for eating squirrel. He came into the house at sunset with a stuck squirrel tail in his mouth. Half the tail was in his esophagus and half was sticking out his mouth!


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