Happy Indigenous Peoples Day!

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Here at Talic, we like to think of ourselves as naturalists and conservationists, living close to the earth.  We promote sustainable living, we garden, we compost, we recycle.  We feel most at home in the wide outdoors.  We paddle, we hike, we sleep under the stars.  We have a strong belief in family values, and strive to treat all people as, well, people.  Simple – I’ll be nice to you, you be nice to me.  Big hug, everyone! 

We believe strongly in doing our small bit to right the injustices of history.  And so, we choose to honor the Native Peoples of America by celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day.  Not Columbus Day.

In honor of all of those who lived on this land before us, who were wronged by our European ancestors, we will take a day to honor your history, your ways, to appreciate this great land we live on.

Growing up, I always wanted to be “an Indian.”  I played Indians, and made my younger brother play along with me.  Not Cowboy and Indians, but just “Indians.”    I read books on Native Americans, learned to make beaded necklaces.  My Dad made me an authentic looking Medicine Man headdress, my Mom sewed me skirts with fringe and beads.  I cheered for the Indians in the old Westerns, cried when they were wronged.

In my teen years, I visited my great uncle in Arizona – my first ever flight, and my dream destination.  I was going “Out West!!”  I nearly jumped out of the car when I saw a Native American young man riding bareback on a horse.  I was in heaven!

Many years later, older, and I hope wiser, I still yearn for the west.  I’ve been very fortunate to have visited Arizona often; my son lived there for awhile.  I’ve hiked into the Grand Canyon twice – once as a guest on the Havasupai Reservation.  I’ve walked through Monument Valley, I’ve prayed at the cemetery of those massacred at Wounded Knee.  I’ve climbed into Mesa Grande in Colorado, stared in awe at Montezuma’s Castle in Arizona, feel at home paddling the waters of the Adirondacks.

I have four sons, and I’m a proud witness to the next generation of outdoor lovers,  naturalists in their own right.  Jon, the oldest, busy raising his own two sons, amazes me how with his “MacGyver” bag of tricks, thinks outside the box and solves any issue.  Pete, who works with us here at Talic, traveled to Montana to become certified in Permaculture Design.  He has created our hometown’s first Food Forest, and continues to work with the school children, teaching them sustainability in the gardens, and love of the earth.  Jake, my Arizona son, climbed and hiked regularly while there, and is looking for a mountain to climb in DC, but well, there just aren’t any on the National Mall. He’s already introducing his one year old daughter to the beauty of the National Parks.  Nick, the communicator, travels the world, making lasting friends with indigenous peoples everywhere.  He spent the summer on Easter Island, and declares he could live there indefinitely!

While doing genealogy, imagine my delight when I found that my distant uncle had married a Native woman!  I tried and tried to connect her to my family, to some how make me “Indian”, but it didn’t work.  I am of European descent – Irish, Austrian, French.  My ancestors were immigrants to this country.

I have recently learned, however, that my French ancestors from Quebec were explorers and navigators in the New World, and had close friendships with the Native Peoples.  I have a copy of a book, written in French, about their travels.  I like to think that my ancestors, as visitors in the New World, were welcomed, and respectful of their hosts.

Columbus didn’t discover America, it was never lost. It was here all along, being lovingly cared for by the Native Peoples.  Thank you.  Today, I honor you all.