Gyasi Ross: Thankful for survival, fashion, language and family

Gyasi Ross shares what he is thankful for this Thanksgiving:
This is going to be a very short post. Why? Because I’m about to go eat some good food and watch some football. It is, after all, Thanksgiving season and I indulge. HEAVY. Let me explain why:

Extremely Quick Story: My grandpa was considered a spiritual leader within my community. Every single morning—rain, snow or shine—he’d get up before the sun rose and go up to one of our sacred spots and give a prayer of thanks. He’d give thanks for the sun that was about to rise, for having enough food, for being able to even say that prayer. He gave thanks for the next generations—us. It was a ritual of thanks.

During this part of the year, on social media, I see Natives who seem to be always angry about something. It seems like it’s kinda like their job to be angry and make memes and Facebook posts about how angry they are—angry about sports, angry about clothes, angry about mascots angry about…giving thanks. Of course, that’s certainly their right to be angry, and there are definitely things that I’d like to change and try to work on changing. I get that. But I contrast that anger with my grandpa’s attitude, and that of many other Native elders I grew up knowing: Theirs was one of thankfulness. Gratitude. They grew up in a different time when resources were more scarce and there was much more animosity between Native people and non-Natives. During those rough times, there was no guarantee that our small communities would have enough food, that they would be able to say those prayers, or indeed, whether or not the sun would rise for Native people again.

Native people were almost wiped out. But we weren’t—we survived. And for that, I am thankful.

Get the Story:
Gyasi Ross: Why I Am Thankful: Survival, Fashion, Language and Family (Indian Country Today 11/26)

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