A Special Thanksgiving Invitation (November 2013)
By Karen Litzinger, MA, LPC

After attending a Fox Chapel library program on Wedneday, September 11, I realized I wanted to figure out another way to celebrate Thanksgiving. I had an opportunity to hear Jeff Iron Cloud humbly speak about his experience as a Native American in the Lakota tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Since I am interested in Native American spirituality, I found the program fascinating. Then someone asked Iron Cloud to explain about Wounded Knee, an 1890 massacre of Native Americans, the last clash between the Sioux (more currently referred to as Lakota) and the Federal Government. This was a natural and obvioius reminder about what I just heard referred to last week on the radio as the "European Invasion" of North America.
Aside from historical details, on a visceral level it brought home to me that we are celebrating a literally "whitewashed" version of Thanksgiving, even though the idea of harvest, gratitude and initial decent relations between Pilgrims and Native Americans are all reasonable things to celebrate (forget football and shopping which aren't even on my radar screen).
So my invitation to you is to consider making a Thanksgiving monetary gift to a Native American tribe or cause as a sign of peace, forgiveness and reparation for what our European forbears initiated (if you are of that descent) no matter how reasonable the pursuit of religious freedom was as an initial motivation to seek out a new land.

There are a number of projects supporting the Pine Ridge Reservation that that you can tribute to through Village Earth, a nonprofit focussed on village-based development. Home to 26,000 members of the Lakota Tribe, the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota, is teh 2nd poorest county in the nation. Click HERE for more information and to make a contribution. Go to "Global Affiliates" to see the projects.

I invite you to consider supporting the Knife Chief Buffalo Nation project which is managed by Jeff Iron Cloud whom I met in September. Click HERE to go straight to that project to contribute. This project is working to reclaim 1800 acres of ancestral lands for restoring buffalo, and Lakota culture and lifeways, creating more self-determination and resiliency.

Pittsburgh has a special connection to the Lakota Sacred White Buffalo story as one was born nearby and is currently housed on land at Nemacolin Woodlands. Another connection is that Lakota artifacts were found through the Fort Pitt Museum.

©2013, Litzinger Career Consulting. Permission granted to reprint this article so long as the text and by-line are not changed and reprinted intact with all links made live.
Karen Litzinger, MA, LPC, owner of Litzinger Career Consulting, provides career counseling, job search advising, outplacement consulting, and business etiquette training. More information is available at www.KarensCareerCoaching.com