Native American History Month “Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations…”-Deuteronomy 32:7
November is Native American History month. It is also the month we celebrate Thanksgiving. Below is an excerpt from an article published in Indian Country Today that offers an Indigenous perspective of American Indian history and Thanksgiving. May we join are Native American brothers and sisters in praying for healing this November.
~ Matthew 25 Committee
Happy Thanksgiving: an American Indian Perspective By Terra Trevor
“…November, the season of damp leaves, slanted sunlight and Thanksgiving is braided with Native American Heritage month. What started at the turn of the century to recognize The First Americans simmered on the back burner until 1990, when President George H. Bush approved a joint resolution designing November as “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations have been issued each year since 1994. But thus far, the majority of those I meet within mainstream America continue to be unaware there is something to acknowledge other than the story of “The First Thanksgiving.”
I say this not only in sorrow, but in disbelief.
Why do so many families, parents and teachers in America continue to dedicate the month of November with a focus on perpetuating this myth year after year after year?
Native people are connected to history, to family, to land, culture and community. We are still alive. We are still here; we have not disappeared into the past, like the pilgrims did. All of the Elders I know tell me Native People have been giving thanks for as long as people have existed. After the corn was all dried, pumpkins sliced and the wild plums brought in it was a time for “giving thanks.” When the food was together for the hard winter months and when the work was all done, they gathered.
Yet after the “Thanksgiving” holiday was coined and continues to be celebrated based on a story that does not include factual Native American history, “Thanksgiving” has become a time of mourning for many Native People. It serves as a period of remembering how a gift of generosity was rewarded by theft of land and seed corn, extermination of many Native people from disease, and near total elimination of many more from forced assimilation. As celebrated in America “Thanksgiving” is a reminder of 500 years of betrayal.
I’m within the assemblage of American Indians whose family and Native friends celebrate Thanksgiving. But our focus is not on pilgrims. We don’t turn their lives topsy-turvy by making lengthy lists of things needing to be done for what has come to be known as Turkey Day. We aren’t in the throng of those who go commercial in the planning. Our celebration is deep-rooted in a simple tradition. Honoring, remembering our ancestors, our history and celebrating the harvest. Our thoughts turn to the Wampanoag people. We feast and pray for the healing to begin.
Each year when the platter of cracked corn, turkey and the pies are brought out, I remember my grandmother’s words. “Child,” she said, “We’re Indians, our culture has been scattered into odds and bits, yet Indian People are determined to keep our life ways alive.”
All Saints Day
On Sunday, November 7th. We will celebrate All Saints Day. It is an opportunity for believers to remember all saints and martyrs, known and unknown, throughout Christian history.We will be remembering those from our church family that have gone to their eternal home since the last All Saints Day. This year we will be honoring Tim Davis, Bob Brown, Maynard Nolting and Betty Peterson. We will celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion. The Chancel Choir will be singing.
The Mittens and More Trees
This year the Deacons will be sponsoring the Mittens and More Trees once again. You can bring your items and place them under the Christmas Trees in the narthex until Sunday, December 5. On December 6, we will deliver the items to “Share the Spirit.” Please donate new items including toys, art & craft supplies, games, puzzles, quilts, blankets, hats, mittens, gloves, socks, and scarves. Thank you for supporting this ministry.
If you see youth or adults in our congregation that have gifts to serve as a pastor, please encourage them. Less people are going to seminary now and of those that do go, half do not plan to serve a congregation. Many only want to serve in large cities as a pastor. As eighty percent of our pastors retire in the next ten years, there will be a huge shortage of pastors. It used to take an average of two years to find a pastor but now it is getting closer to four. Our presbytery is offering incentives to get people to come to Minnesota Valleys Presbytery by offering a $10,000 grant if they stay for three years. The presbytery is also offering mentoring and reduced costs on hiring a pastoral coach. There are educational programs for ruling elders to train them to be commissioned ruling elders to serve congregations too. If you are interested in this please talk with me.
Count Your Blessings
We all could make a list of trials and tribulations that we have been experiencing but this Thanksgiving season let us truly take some time to give thanks to God for all in our life that is good. Make a list of all the blessings that you have. Keep a gratitude journal and each day write down three things that make you feel grateful. (a certain person, a sunset, a Snickers bar, a hug, etc.) Write three new things each day. In no time you will be amazed at how you have been blessed by God.
I give thanks for you! May God bless you and keep you!
In Christ’s love, Pastor Scott Prouty
Wednesday, November 10 ~ 4:30-7 pm
This year we will have a drive-thru/pick-up ONLY dinner.
All tickets will be PRE-SOLD!
So get your tickets early, drive to the RACC on the 10th and pick up your dinner, you never have to leave your comfy car! 🙂
Tickets available from any of the men at the church
or the church office.
Clean Water for Niger “…I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink.”-Matthew 25:35
Approximately 5,000 children under the age of five die every day around the globe simply because they lack access to clean drinking water. Our congregation is responding to the thirsty and sick Christ by donating $400 to the Water and Sanitation in Niger project, directed by the Presbyterian Mission Agency. The donation will help provide technical assistance, equipment and training to develop sources of clean water and sanitation in needy communities in Niger. Your faithful giving enables this Kingdom building work to continue. Thank you.