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Thanksgiving & American Indian Wisdom, Quotes & Prayers – Combating Extremism

Dear Friends:

For many of us, the end of November is a time for visiting with family and dear friends, and thinking of the people and things that make us grateful. But often for the American Indian community, it’s different. For many of them, Thanksgiving is a holiday that ignores, and even celebrates, their history of suffering. Suffering that still reverberates today.

For example … did you know that just last May, two young Native men were run over by a white man allegedly shouting racial slurs? Or that Native People are being targeted by white supremacists and right-wing extremists—something we rarely see in the news.

At this moment of gratitude with loved ones, I want to ask you to pause and consider the American Indian experience.

As a starting point, please take a look at this month’s installment of Combating Extremism—and see some short but powerful reminders of American Indian Wisdom, Quotes and Prayers.

To successfully combat hate and ignorance, we must be proactive in learning about each other. Only by recognizing our cultural assumptions will we reduce the stereotypes and ‘othering’ that perpetuate hatred—including toward American Indians.

With gratitude,

Joyce S. Dubensky
CEO

P.S. Since 1970, an organization known as Native Americans of New England has recognized Thanksgiving as their National Day of Mourning. To acknowledge the glaring omission of the American Indian narrative from our traditional Thanksgiving celebrations, the U.S. government made November Native American Heritage Month. And Black Friday is now also known as Native American Heritage Day.

P.P.S There are over 550 American Indian and Alaskan Native tribes in the U.S.

P.P.P.S. Speaking for myself, and everyone at Tanenbaum, we’re grateful for all of you. Thank you for being part of our community, and supporting our work.

Something for Your Holiday Menu…

Dear Friends,

I’m sure you’ve seen accounts of people canceling their family Thanksgiving—or at least, thinking about it. While family gatherings can sometimes include tension and conflicts, it’s particularly hard for divided families and friends who found themselves on opposite sides of our acrimonious and divisive election.

So the question now is how can we celebrate one another and begin anew the process of living respectfully with our differences, rather than fearing them? In addition to simply making the commitment, this Thanksgiving you can:

  • Share The Golden Rule: Begin dinner with the Golden Rule. It is a universal tenet shared by all traditions. Consider printing it, passing it around, and letting each guest read the words of respect and caring for others that come from so many different beliefs. It can be a moment of sharing and a reminder that can help set the tone for the evening and lay the foundation for healthy conversation.
  • Beware of Words that Inflame: Watch out for the words that inflame. Want to talk about Muslims? Immigrants? Jewish people? Christians? Evangelicals? Women? Race? Sexual orientation? Talk about a person but not “them.” Stay away from words like “all,” “none,” “always,” and “never.” And don’t say, “those people.”
  • Listen: My mother used to say I had two ears and one mouth for a reason. Take time to listen fully before responding. Resources, like this New York Times article, are sprouting up everywhere, reminding us that we can – and should – engage in civil, rational, fact-based discourse. What better time than Thanksgiving?

We wish you a meaningful holiday and invite you to use this Thanksgiving as an opportunity to reaffirm your commitment to all people and all Americans.

Joyce S. Dubensky,
Tanenbaum CEO

One Year Since Sikhs Slaughtered: Top 5 News Stories

The State Department announced this week the creation of its first office dedicated to outreach to the global faith community and religious leaders.Sikhs Remember Tragedy By Embracing Faith •  Pope on homosexuals: 'Who am I to judge?' • Iran’s supreme leader issues edict on banned sect, tells people to avoid dealing with Baha’is • This Heroine Wears a Burqa to Fight Evil • State Dept. seeks to broaden religious reach

Last week's top stories, from our perspective:

Sikhs Remember Tragedy By Embracing Faith

On August 5th, 2012, a gunman opened fire at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek, just south of Milwaukee. He killed six people. This August, the temple will hold a series of events to honor the victims, including a continuous recitation of the Sikh holy book, cover to cover. It's a ritual that happens at both happy and sad events, and is intended to bring peace and solace. (Photo credit from Mother Jones)

Pope on homosexuals: 'Who am I to judge?'

On the flight back to the Vatican from Rio de Janeiro, Pope Francis fielded questions from reporters in the plane's press compartment. The Pope answered many questions, but the one gaining the most attention is: when asked about the Vatican's alleged "gay lobby," the Pope replied that while a lobby might be an issue, he doesn't have any problem with the inclination to homosexuality itself: "Who am I to judge them if they're seeking the Lord in good faith?" he said.

Iran’s supreme leader issues edict on banned sect, tells people to avoid dealing with Baha’is

Iran’s supreme leader is urging Iranians to avoid all dealings with members of the banned Baha’i sect in a possible prelude to further crackdowns on the minority.Iran already bans the Baha’i, a religion founded in the 1860s by a Persian nobleman considered a prophet by followers. Muslims consider Muhammad the final prophet. Many consider Baha'is to be among the most discriminated against religious minorities worldwide.

This Heroine Wears a Burqa to Fight Evil

A new cartoon in Pakistan features an unusual role model for female empowerment: a woman who uses martial arts to battle colorful villains such as Baba Bandooq, a Taliban-esque figure who tries to shut down her school, and Vadero Pajero, a corrupt politician. In the cartoon, a schooteacher, Jiya, transforms into the heroine by donning a burqa. There are supporters and detractors abound.

State Dept. seeks to broaden religious reach

​The State Department announced this week the creation of its first office dedicated to outreach to the global faith community and religious leaders. The State Department said the new office “will focus on engagement with faith-based organizations and religious institutions around the world to strengthen U.S. development and diplomacy and advance America’s interests and values.”