Updated: Oct 15
Today has been known as Columbus Day for over a century but federally recognized since 1934. In more recent years, however, October 12th (or the second Monday of October) has come to be known as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Today we celebrate, honor, and uplift indigenous people. Also, our friend and guest, Laura, stops by to tell us a little about Canadian Thanksgiving (which is coincidentally the same day).
In this episode
Cassidy details the significance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day and why it is replacing Columbus Day. She welcomes their Canadian friend, Laura, to discuss Canadian Thanksgiving. (Or as she and her family call it: Gratitude Day.) Laura describes the similarities, and differences, between American and Canadian Thanksgiving, and why her family has made a conscious choice to celebrate gratitude on that day, instead of the violence of colonialism.
“All matter is animated and alive, emanating and receptive to some spirit force.” – McCall
McCall delves into Native American culture in this episode, detailing how we can celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day and familiarizing you with many of the beliefs and traditions that Native Americans hold. She touches on the beautiful concept of Two-Spirit people, as well as the view of disease and death as a natural result of imbalance.
“What better pharmacist than the Great Spirit itself, who purposefully created peyote for medicinal, spiritual, and healing purposes.” - McCall
McCall breaks down the role of peyote in Native American Church and the amazing man who began it. Is it a monotheistic religion, based on faith in One Supreme Spirit? McCall explains the meaning of Animism, and allows Joseph Campbell to explain the dangers of dualism and the battle of Good vs Evil, Right vs Wrong, Man vs Nature.
Conflict between colonial Europeans and Native Americans is addressed, noting a distinct connection to, and worshipping of, the land on which we reside. Today, there is a disconnect with Earth which we must mend. A ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ of sorts. Climate change is real, and McCall has some wise words regarding what we can to do make peace with our planet.
On this episode of Unboxing God, Cassidy explains to us that Columbus Day represents the violent history of colonization in the North America.
She brings on a friend Laura, to detail the history behind Canadian Thanksgiving, which happens to be on the same day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and represents a similar history to Columbus Day. In Canada, Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated the same way as it is in America, meaning kids don’t dress up as turkeys and Native Americans for school plays, and so on and so forth. Laura and her family chooses to take the day and turn it into Gratitude Day to put a more positive twist on it. To honor Indigenous Peoples’ Day, please consider donating to a local tribe in your area, or contribute to the Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund, which supports Native organizations on the frontlines.
“We’ve never been grateful for genocide.” - Laura
Native Americans have this idea of two-spirit people, which combine characteristics of both genders, creating a whole new gender. In many tribes, two-spirit people filled special religious roles, such as healers, ceremonial leaders, and shamans. In some tribes, these people were considered especially blessed in the areas of love and attraction, with the ability to bestow that gift on others.
Native Americans view disease and death as the natural result of an imbalance in an individual. The Native American Church (NAC) uses peyote as a holy, sacred sacrament. Their concept of a universal spiritual energy is called The Great Spirit, interpreted as the power that resides in all. For most Native cultures, there is no distinction between the spiritual world and the material world. However, colonial European missionaries exploited the similarities between their concept of God and The Great Spirit to encourage conversion to Christianity. Worship of the land also created conflict with colonial Christians, which is explained in this episode with some beautiful spoken words from Professor Joseph Campbell.
“It is undeniable that we as humans are out of balance with the planet.” – McCall
Perhaps we should adopt a way of thinking that is more aligned with the Native American culture, one where we strive for balance. Mother Earth needs us to take her into account when we act, celebrate, and create legacies.
[00:00] Intro: What is Indigenous Peoples’ Day? + Why replace Columbus Day with it?
[01:42] No one is grateful for genocide
[03:54] Columbus became so big because there was a huge problem with racism against Italians, so they made a day for Italians.
[05:05] Why do Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving?
[06:09] How we can celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day
[06:49] McCall describes the Native American idea of two-spirit people
[08:24] The story of Quanah Parker + The many usages of peyote
[10:20] Fun facts about peyote and the NAC
[10:59] The Great Spirit: A concept of universal spiritual energy
[12:02] Animism + Most Native cultures don’t have a word for religion
[13:20] Seeking balance
[14:44] Worship of the land created more conflict with colonial Christians + Words from Joseph Campbell
[19:50] We are on a precipice with regard to climate change
[21:45] Next week on Unboxing God: Seeking balance to promote healing interpersonally and for the planet as a whole
“What Is Indigenous Peoples’ Day?” by Becky Little on History.com
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