Giving Thanks for Indiginous Peoples

 In this season of gratitude, I would like to respectfully give thanks to the cultural and spiritual contributions of our Native American brothers and sisters.  I would also like to bear witness to the prolonged injustice and suffering sustained by Native Americans at the hands of our government that apparently still continues today, as manifested in Standing Rock, North Dakota, USA.

In my humble gesture of solidarity with American Indiginous Peoples, I would like to share the truth about the first Thanksgiving in this country. My intention is to gently pop our collective delusional bubble of false xenaphila--come on, we all know somewhere in our heart of hearts, that as much as we want to believe it, the Pilgrims did not invite the "savages" to sit down to dinner with them, even if Squanto did teach them to plant corn.  So, gather round.  I am about the debunk our sanguine American myth of the first Thanksgiving:

Circa 1620, the Mayflower arrived at Plymouth Rock, now Massachusetts, what was then Mohican territory (see map below). The Mayflower carried English dissidents-soon-to-be-American colonists, who desired religious freedom and financial opportunities. The first elected leader of these people was John Carver. Upon landing in the New World, Carver and the colonists observed the indigenous population, who happened to be members of the Wampanoag Nation. Incredibly, instead of immediately waging war on the Wampanoag, Carver had the foresight to realize it would be mutually beneficial to befriend the  people, especially whilst the colonists were...well, colonizing. Hence, Carver initiated meetings with the Wampanoag leader, Yellow Feather Oasmeequin, aka Chief Massasoit.  These meetings were positive in that they eventually resulted  in a rudimentary treaty between the Wampanoag and the English settlers (see 2011 commemorative dollar coin).  


After a tough year full of tribulation, pestilence and hard labor, a very small group of colonists endured. The newly elected Governor, William Bradford, wanted to create a feast for the survivors of that first year, as a diversion from calamity and also to celebrate a fairly decent harvest.  Hence, the first Thanksgiving. At the feast, the exuberant pilgrims wanted to express thanks "Colonial style" so, after dipping into the Mulberry wine, they got out ye olde guns and canons and started blasting away. This alerted the Wampanoag, who did not understand this custom of unrestrained Pilgrim merriment.  In response and, most likely, apprehension, Chief Massasoit, gathered about a hundred of his best warriors and watched the party from the surrounding woods to gather information as to what the hell was going on. Thankfully (key word here), nothing happened.  The Wampanoag probably scratched their heads and wondered about the hullabaloo, but surmised it was not aggressive. Neither were they invited to join in the fun or partake of the fare. No harm, no foul.

The Thanksgiving myth about Pilgrims and Indians harmoniously breaking bread does not necessarily mean that these peoples did not occasionally reach beyond their firmly established belief systems and biases and evolve into symbiotic relationships; the story of  Captain John Smith and Pocahontas is indeed a true testament to these wonderful anomalies. However, out of respect for Native Americans, I would like to acknowledge the nation of people by name (Wampanoag) who helped sustain the early settlers.  I would also like to applaud the non-reactionary posturing of both Pilgrim and Native American, however ephemeral it was. The negotiations in that very trying time, with weapons virtually within reach, towards peaceful resolution and mutual support, bolsters my faith in humanity.  Even in these trying times today.

As an expression of solidarity with those groups of resilient, indigenous populations (Sioux, Lakota, Dakota, among many others) congregating at Standing Rock, I would like to offer 25 % off all Jenstones Jewelry purchases from now until November 30th, 2016. I will donate 25 percent of all sales to  the Stand With Standing Rock Fundraising Association to assist  Native Americans in their quest for public consideration of: their heritage, culture, their sacred sites and their ability to access uncontaminated water. Please use code: Wampanoag to enjoy this discount and to participate in the support of Native Americans at Standing Rock.  If you would like to donate directly, please use this link:

 Jenstones Jewelry designs proudly acknowledges influences from indigenous cultures and their artisans' amazing craftsmanship and talent.  See below:

Hand crafted in sterling silver, this necklace is made with turquoise colored howlite stone tusks.  Howlite is a calming stone used to relieve stress.  The necklace is sleek and modern and sure to turn some heads. The chain is adjustable to16-20 inches and has a turquoise stone finish on the end. Matching turquoise tusk earrings make an amazing combined set!


Mezcala Bead Necklace with Turquoise Magnizite Beads   Handmade turquoise colored magnizite beads with Aztec centerpiece.  Wear it like a choker or longer, 16-18 inches with fine sterling silver clasp.  Bracelet and necklace sold together as a set.

This necklace is a great mix of old and new beads to create a beautifully timeless design!  The center stone is from the Mezcala era, and could be up to 2000 years old, dating back to 700-200 BC. The oldest beads in this collection are brownish, irregular and pitted but if you rub or wear them, the oils from your skin polish them and they change back to a blue-green luster. Surrounding the Mezcala bead are grey-purple druzys, and then finished off with a handmade sterling silver clasp.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published