Opinion: Leave room to thank Native culture and spirituality

Writer suggests Americans take a lesson from Australians in always thanking indigenous people:
To an American reporter in the audience and the Opera House, the frequent recognition of Aboriginal presence on the land long before the first British colony was established in the late 18th century—particularly after some subsequent reading on the spiritual connection to the land—was a revelation.

The National Mall in Washington, D.C., is home to the National Museum of the American Indian, and Native American history has taken its rightful place in American history curricula across the nation. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, which opened a new wing for its Art of the Americas collection in 2010, is one of many American museums that now exhibit Native American art in sections that historically housed only the art of the colonists.

But this Thanksgiving it’s worth pondering whether there’s more room to be thankful for Native American culture and spirituality (although that term may apply in a way other than the Judeo-Christian sense)—perhaps in the way that Australia acknowledges its Aboriginal culture.

The Welcome to Country—or Acknowledgement of Country—protocol dates back to when Aboriginal people gathered together, or invited others into their country, explains Clarence Slockee, the education coordinator for Aboriginal programs at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney.

Get the Story:
Menachem Wecker: What do we owe Native Americans? (The Washington Post 11/27)

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