Decolonizing Thanks Giving

 

Presented on November 18, 2021, this virtual worship service was intentionally crafted by centering Indigenous People and cultures. This service is presented by many Indigenous Unitarian Universalists in collaboration with Relations from local Tribal Communities, the UU Ministry for Earth & Side With Love.

Enjoy the recording here:

Order of Service

  • “The Honorable Harvest” – Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Welcoming & Prayer – Hartman Deetz
  • Acknowledging UU Colonial History – Nina Lytton,
    Quoted by Nina Lytton: “In Order to Understand Thanksgiving, One Must Understand the Sacredness of the Gift,” by Dawn Dove (Narragansett); Published in “Dawnland Voices: An Anthology of Indigenous Writing from New England” – https://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/nebraska/9780803246867/
  • Carrizo Comecrudo Welcome Song – Aspen Basaldua
  • “Prepare” by Joy Harjo, read by (in order of appearance) Sam Beltram, Aspen Basaldua, Kia Bordner, Nina Lytton, Rev. Dr. Clyde Grubbs
  • Acknowledgement: The Moment – Kia Bordner

Links for Learning:
http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/thanks.htm
https://www.loc.gov/item/today-in-history/june-02/
https://www.loc.gov/classroom-materials/elections/right-to-vote/voting-rights-for-native-americans/ https://www.padilla.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/padilla-introduces-native-american-voting-rights-act-of-2021/

  • Story for All Ages, “Mel & the Blue Arrow” by Mel Vernon (San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians), introduced by Sam Beltram
  • Offertory for United American Indians of New England, Offertory for United American Indians of New England, with Native flute story and Native flute playing by Mel Vernon (San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians), introduced by Sam Beltram
  • Reflection and song – Hartman Deetz
  • Homily – Rev. Dr. Clyde Grubbs
  • Blessings for cultural healing and transformation – Kia Bordner
  • Idle No More message

Congregational Use

Unitarian Universalism’s history, during the Civil War era, is directly connected to the creation of the mythos supporting the US Thanksgiving holiday and the historically inaccurate and harmful colonial narrative of “Pilgrims and the Indians,” and the pageant traditions that perpetuate these harms.

In recent years, UUs have made a commitment to reconsider the cultural and colonial foundations of this tradition, in counsel and relationship with First Nations and Indigenous communities. The Harvest the Power program and Thanksgiving Reframed worship service last year were a significant milestone in this effort. This Decolonizing Thanks Giving worship service was created as an offering to contribute to this Unitarian Universalist work of  truth-telling, cultural healing, and transformation.

To show this worship program at your UU congregation, or to use elements of this program in a worship service you are organizing, please fill out this form below.

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