Some ask us: Will you ever stop protesting? Some day we will stop protesting: We will stop protesting when the merchants of Plymouth are no longer making millions of dollars off the blood of our slaughtered ancestors. We will stop protesting when we can act as sovereign nations on our own land without the interference of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and what Sitting Bull called the “favorite ration chiefs.” When corporations stop polluting our mother, the earth. When racism has been eradicated. When the oppression of Two-Spirited people is a thing of the past. We will stop protesting when homeless people have homes and no child goes to bed hungry. When police brutality no longer exists in communities of color… Until then, the struggle will continue. – Moonanum James
Yes, I feel grateful. I breathe in and out, and gratitude rises within me. This happens daily. Sometimes I feel such an upwelling of gratitude that tears fill my eyes. Life is such a blessing of unfolding teaching, beauty, and grace. But today, I also have a heavy heart. Those who inhabited this continent before the Pilgrims arrived have been damaged and decimated by those European settlers, and the damage continues. It is unlikely that you need to be told the history.
Gratitude is good. So is action.
If you feel grateful, and have some extra Winter clothing, or some amount of money, large or small, please consider donating to the Friends of Pine Ridge Winter Donation Drive. Many of the people of Pine Ridge live in crushing poverty and could use help. It isn’t much, and it cannot erase the past, but it can help toward the present and the future.
We can think of it as the practice of spiritual connection via the material plane and I can guarantee it will feel better and be of greater help than the excesses of the consumer frenzy of Black Friday. By donating to the people of Pine Ridge, we can weave the web, stave off further dis-integration, and perhaps even give someone else something to feel grateful for.
It has been many years since I have joined those gathered on the sacred Alcatraz Island at dawn, but every year at this time, as I wing my way to my blood family, I think of them, grateful for their gathering, and their prayers to land, sea, and sky. Sometimes, during incipient Winter, I try to give back to the early people’s of this land, as I try to give back in general during my weekly sojourns at the soup kitchen. This keeps me honest in my practice and besides, gratitude needs to be passed on, otherwise the power of its magic is diminished.
We give thanks for this day, for the blessings of the Earth, and for life in all of its diversity.