LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - David Sickey, Tribal Chairman of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, shares a Thanksgiving message.
With many of our mostly normal expectations, traditions, and even daily habits being challenged this 2020 year, we have a unique opportunity for the basic components of our humanity to be finely tuned to those qualities which belong within our highest calling. In all, we are stretching our capacity to give each other and ourselves true grace. We are rethinking as well as reworking our response to those things which differentiate us. We are enhancing our standard of kindness. Compared to years past, this Thanksgiving will certainly look and feel different for many of us. It will also cling to our most familiar bonds unconditionally bound to a time of gratitude, refection, and acceptance.
All across America and even way down south within our state of Louisiana, cooler air has already begun taming the heat of a restless summer. Following nature’s gentle gift of inherent grace, we find ourselves somewhat surrendering into the harvest. Generally, we seek peace. Instinctively, we rest. Naturally, we prepare for a day to feast and set a table of welcome.
The traditions of today honor both new and old family adaptations of a timeless story reminding us to be thankful for what was given throughout the year. The many ways this thanksgiving is celebrated vary as much as the cultures and the perceptions of our fellow Americans. While we are a nation of diverse representations, we unite in our appreciation and pursuit for the good in life and the blessing of humanity. This is our Thanksgiving table promising us the familiar practice of gratitude.
Last November, when Governor John Bel Edwards formally signed a proclamation distinguishing November as American Indian Heritage Month, Louisiana joined many other states honoring the contributions of Native American Tribes to the United States of America. With this additional support and formal recognition in place, the historical story of the first celebrated Thanksgiving adheres to the work and lives of Native Americans, today. In reflection of a past and of a relationship which continues to survive despite horrendous struggle, we can see a path to our best future. This is our Thanksgiving table offering us the tradition of acceptance. We are an Us. We were. We are, presently.
Especially this year, our Thanksgiving table is a reminder to all that though the setting may change, what ultimately welcomes us back each year is the most important as well as constant gift of life. Change and challenges are opportunities of love and longevity. The encouraging words of my father, Ernest Sickey, written in 1973 following endless hardships for our tribe provide us all with wisdom in these times. He said, “We’ve worked long and hard for this. The struggle has made us stronger and our victory will open the way to justice and a better life.” His words, as they did at that time, seem to perfectly capture the encouragement we need today.
In perspective, I pray all Americans share in the blessing of our diversity, in the peace of our acceptance, and in the grace of unity. May Our Creator fill our tables with kindness. May our harvest reflect the gratitude its due and share the highest honor of our humanity this Thanksgiving. Be safe. Stay healthy. Aliilamo (Thank You).