Photo: White Wolf

Thanksgiving, as the name indicates, is a time to give thanks. For family, for friends, for all those close to us. It is a time to reflect on personal kindness and gives us a chance to bury the hatchet with those who we do not get along with, so to speak.

One way to show forgiveness and share commonality is through the Native American tradition of the Ceremonial pipe, also known as the Peace Pipe.

In many Native American traditions, the Peace Pipe was used in celebration, prayer, and to seal treaties. The eastern natives usually used tobacco while western cultures tended to mix different herbs and barks, known as kinnikinnick.

Native Americans are an integral part of what we now consider Thanksgiving. When the first European settlers came to America, they settled in Wampanoag lands. The Wampanoag people hunted for the Europeans’ feast day so they could share in a celebration of the harvest. There was singing, dancing, and thanks was given for the food and prosperity the people were experiencing. The Wampanoag believed in taking only what you need and respected the land and animals as family. Without their help, the Europeans would not have survived.

Though many of these traditions have been lost, the Wampanoag people still exist in New England.

Celebrate Thanksgiving and honor the Wampanoag and other Native tribes of this country by starting a new tradition. Smoke a pipe or a bowl with those you love and agree with as well as those you disagree with. Forgive, enjoy, and most importantly, be thankful for all the positive people and things in your life.

Happy Thanksgiving.