Today I'm grateful for the cultures of indigenous peoples who lived on this land, now called the United States, thousands of years before colonists arrived. Our modern culture is starved for their deep knowledge about relationships among people, communities, planet, and cosmos.
Indigenous people were relentlessly persecuted to the ends of this land. This is a picture of Thunder Traveling to the Loftier Mountain Heights, who led his people in resisting the takeover of their land. After many fights, he spoke these words in 1877:
"Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before, I have it in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Our Chiefs are killed; Looking Glass is dead, Ta Hool Hool Shute is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led on the young men is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets; the little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are - perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my Chiefs! I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever."
As I eat my warm meal today and sleep in my warm bed, I remember Thunder Traveling to the Loftier Mountain Heights, his people, his children. I remember those who don't have homes or warm meals. I remember those whose voices are not heard and not part of the holiday story. And I am grateful that they continually remind me of what remains to be accomplished.