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Thanksgiving Reflection: Honoring the Land, Ourselves, and the Native Tribes of Oregon

Posted by | Catholic Charities of Oregon

As Thanksgiving approaches, Lucrecia Súarez (Clinical Training & Development Manager), Jennifer Lucena (Homeless Services Manager), and Marielle McKenna (Case Manager) invite us to take a moment to reflect on the holiday. To do so we’d like to first acknowledge the native people of this beautiful land where we live and work.

What we now call Portland, Oregon, and Multnomah County are traditional lands of many tribes, including the Multnomah, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Tumwater, Tualatin, Kalapuya, Wasco, Molalla, Cowlitz, and Watlala.

Let’s hold a minute of silence in appreciation for their presence and wisdom through time on this land.

We should also acknowledge that, through colonization, these lands were stolen from these tribes, divided, and sold. The indigenous peoples who survived the diseases and war of the white invaders were forcibly removed from their homes and forced to journey to other lands.

Reparations have still not been made to Native tribes and Native descendants living in Portland today. Many of them experience addictions, mental and emotional instability, homelessness, housing and food insecurity, and direct and institutional racism.

Let’s hold a minute of silence in appreciation for the work we do at Catholic Charities and our commitment to heal the inter-generational impacts of such colonization.

This Thanksgiving, whether you are surrounded by friends and family or in the silence of solitude, take some time to recognize that painful history and the power we all have to contribute to further healing. Celebrate ourselves, our ancestors, love, friendships, and the other bounties that sustain us.

This year, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep us physically isolated, we hope that whatever you share with others on this day—yummy dishes, activities, or other traditions—will bring a sense of connection, comfort, and rejuvenating joy to you and those you call family.

Let’s hold a minute of silence in appreciation for all of those in our circles that support us, remind us of our value, make us laugh, are there when we need a hug, and hold us when we need to let tears run our cheeks.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!