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Reciprocity as Thanksgiving gratitude

In your thanks-giving, I hope you connect deeply to this earth, feel grateful for your journey on it, and rest into your heart.

Cover of Braiding Sweetgrass, with a green braid

Gratitude is such an easy thing to forget in our stressful lives, and it is so healing. Still, there’s more to this holiday. Although it’s great sadness, it actually helps me feel grounded and opens my ability to feel joy.

This is a holiday of deep grief and trauma, the beginning of violent colonization of the land: mass murder, forced removal, massacre of life-giving buffalo, and ravaging rather than caring for our land.

Because I am not hosting Thanksgiving, I’m not planning to educate anyone or “harsh their buzz.”

But I plan to honor both the joy and sadness by giving back, guided by this quote from Dr. Robin Ward Kimmerer, botanist and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, in “Braiding Sweetgrass,”

“The Honorable Harvest asks us to give back, in reciprocity, for what we have been given. Reciprocity helps resolve the moral tension of taking a life by giving something of value that sustains the ones who sustain us.

“One of our responsibilities as human people is to find ways to enter into reciprocity with the more-than-human world. We can do it through gratitude, through ceremony, through land stewardship, science, art, and everyday acts of practical reverence.”

What is reciprocity at Thanksgiving? Thanking the food at the grocers, noticing the food’s journey when I eat, being creative, and loving.

I’m grateful for you, and again, I hope you connect deeply to this earth, feel grateful for your journey on it, and rest into your heart.

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