Image by crunklygill via Flickr
Many years later, after moving to the US, I became a regular participant in family Thanksgiving with my in-laws. I also grew aware, and increasingly so, of the devastating fate that befell the Wampanoag Indians who participated in the first Thanksgiving, as well as of the Third World conditions in which so many of today's Native Americans live. Growing up as a young girl in rural England, my knowledge of such things was limited to playing in my Indian squaw costume and toy tipi. Although we didn't celebrate Thanksgiving, we had many wonderful celebrations of seasonal agricultural life, including Harvest Festivals where the beautiful Gothic churches were decorated with vegetables and fruits which were later given to the poor. We sang harvest hymns to the sound of swelling organ and thanked our Creator for the harvest.
Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God's own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home!
Such feelings of deep gratitude for harvest go back to our earliest Neolithic roots. Harvest is precarious and a succssful harvest is truly a reason to thank the one we worship as the supreme source of food security.
Toady on Native American reservations, many are cold and hungry, lacking the basic necessities of life. In this wealthy country, where we enjoy conveniences and luxuries that kings in previous generations could not have dreamed of, millions are food insecure. Today in Pakistan, what promised to be a bumper harvest has either been destroyed by floods or lies rotting because the infrastructure to deliver it has been destroyed by the same floods. The world food programme has cut back on basic food rations to malnourished children in Pakistan because of lack of funds.
Although government aid is important, it often comes with strings. Only private philanthropy, people helping people and working with grass roots organizations, can meet the desperate need of the world's poorest. Currently, we at Alandi Ashram are focusing our efforts on Pakistan, partnering with Global Greengrants, a local Boulder organization with a global reach. Please help us raise $30,000 for Pakistan's flood victims...and have a wonderful Thanksgiving in every sense of the word.