Spring has arrived and the world is green again. The sun has moved brightly to the north, and days and nights are warmer, some almost balmy. The garden seeds are sprouting and many of the perennials are flourishing, some in bloom. There are finally fresh greens and flowers at the farmers’ market. Sadly, our favorite baker has closed, at least for this year.
This is a good time to be grateful. Without spring and summer we would have no food; the Earth is generous with us, even as we harm her. It is good to pray with gratitude to the Creator and the Earth, to drum and sing. It is good to place food and flowers on the altar in recognition of the spirits and Ancestors, to remember and acknowledge the generosity of all of those who make our lives possible.
I am asked, “How are we to be grateful when the world is suffering?” After all, the spring has brought anguishing news about climate change and other environmental concerns, and major attacks on Indigenous civil rights in Canada and Australia. The spring has witnessed intensified pollution and desecration of Native lands in the U.S., brought new allegations of governmental indifference to the violent deaths of First Nations women in Canada, and seen the abduction of some 300 young women in Nigeria.
I believe gratitude, at such times as this, is an act of generosity and resistance. Very much as thankfulness provided a fulcrum for action in the freedom movements of India and Afri0-America, acknowledging our love for, and debt to, the Earth and the spirit beings allows us common ground, and challenges the core beliefs of consumer driven colonialism. Gratitude offers the possibility of a broad coalition of concerned people: persons who understand the fate of Indigenous people, women, and the Earth are interrelated, and who care passionately about freedom rooted in responsibility and gratitude.
This spring, let us offer tobacco, drum, sing, and raise prayers of gratitude. May we join hands and voices to express our shared thankfulness and concern, and clearly and passionately on behalf of all who are in peril.