Saturday, July 20, 2024

What Thanksgiving Means to Me

An American-Indian Perspective

Compiled by Cathy Gutierrez, Texas Tech University Region VI Resource Support Center, Dallas Texas, and Gregory G. Gomez Region VI DHHS/ACYF Dallas Texas 1988


“Tribally, there is no significance. Americans, it is a pain, costs money, people overeat, some families get into squabbles.:  Antonia Dobrec, President (Yurok Tribe) Three Feathers Associates, Norman, OK

“Giving thanks, being happy, comfortable in life, wonderful friends and loving family.”  Gina Zapinski, Director (Ft. Sill Apache) Indian Education, Mt. Clemens, Michigan

“Family getting together, having real Indian food and there is love in the air.”  Barbara Conness, Family Advocate (Cherokee) Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma

“It means that today I woke up and I gave thanks to Usen for this woman and these two beautiful children and another day of life.  It’s an awareness of and thanksgiving for all creation and life, and praying for wisdom, patience, compassion as a parent and a human.”  Gregory G. Gomez, Child Welfare Specialist (Lipan-Mescalero Apache) DHHA/Administration for Children, Youth and Families, Region VI Dallas, TX

“It’s just another day, no special thanks for or about this day.  The pilgrims manipulated the time for their own good. I would get a day off from school, but then I had to go pick cotton.  They made a big deal of segregating the schools and then brought us all back together to eat turkey.”  Eddie Sandoval, Professor of Psychology (Apache) Tarrant County Junior College, Fort Worth, Texas

“It’s not any different than other days.  We should give thanks every day for what we have, for family and good health.”  Rose Tsosie-Gomez, Artist & Homemaker (Navajo) Gallup, New Mexico

“Nothing as presented by the larger society because of exclusion and distortion of historical facts as relates to Indian people.  It loses it’s meaning due to modern commercialization and propaganda.”  Ray Apodaca, Director (Tigue) Texas Indian Commission, Austin, TX

“Time to give thanks for lots of things!”  Mimi Olson, Director (Sioux) Redhorse Lodge, South Dakota

“I have alot to be thankful for – I’m alive, and I have my children.”  Joan Pipe, Secretary (Crow) Bureau of Indian Affairs, Billings, Montana

“It’s another day on the calendar.  I am thankful for time to be with family and share a bond of love.”  Ethel Krepps, Attorney (Kiowa & Miami) Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission

“Pilgrims and Indians, joke aye!  Giving thanks for all the good, for the beginning of winter. Thanks to the Great Spirit, you plant in the Spring, in the summer it rains and you cultivate. You get the corn pollen for ceremonies, and in the Fal you harvest. There are the animals and the beginning of a new cycle of hibernation and storytelling.”  Anslem Roanhorse, Director (Navajo) Division of Social Welfare, Navajo Nation, Arizona

“Family, friends, changing of seasons, brilliant colors, a day of laughter, peace and serenity, food with family ad friends and sharing.”  Linda Guy, Acting Principle/Child Welfare Specialist (Cherokee) Bureau of Indian Affairs, Social Services, Washington, D.C.

“Turkey with the family.”  Booki Hall, Hearing Officer (Lac Courte Oreilles Chippewa) Department of Human Services, New Mexico

“As a child, I thought it was a day of mourning, like the last supper for Indian people.  Now I see it as a time of feasting, happiness and family.”  Buddy Big Mountain, Entertainer (Apache/Comanche/Mohawk) Kansas

“It means thanking God for everything, everyday, especially for family.”  Rose Mitchell, Elder (Algonquin) New York

“As an Indian it doesn’t have that much meaning.  I guess it means getting a day off from work to be with family.  I have some similar feelings about Columbus Day.”  Jeanette Trancosa, Program Specialist (San Felipe Pueblo) Community Development Institute, Albuquerque, New Mexico.    1988

Richard Cate is an amazing Native cartoonist.