Evanston news delivered free to your inbox! 

November is Native American Heritage Month in the United States of America.  November was declared National American Indian Heritage Month in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush. 

“When we show our respect for other living things, they respond with respect for us.” (Arapaho: Native American tribe in Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas and Wyoming)

Thanksgiving Day in the United States falls on November 23rd this year.  It is a national holiday that falls on the fourth Thursday in November to commemorate the celebration of the harvest of the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts in 1621, a celebration in which the colonists and neighboring Native Americans shared a feast. Thanksgiving Day is now celebrated as a holiday of feasting and giving thanks.

“Before eating, always take time to thank the food.” (Arapaho)

“A hungry stomach makes a short prayer.” (Paiute: in California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona)

There are many things for which I can give thanks.  I watched a group of high-school students stop, go into their wallets/backpacks and give money to a beggar seated on a crate in downtown Evanston. These students made my day because they confirmed my belief that many, many teenagers are kindhearted and care about the welfare of others. Thank you, students, for giving.

A man standing outside a grocery store politely asked a customer walking in front of me for 60 cents.  The customer ignored him. “You can’t wake a person who is pretending to be asleep.” (Navajo: in New Mexico and Arizona)

I walked past him then realized I had some change in my pocket. I walked back to him and said I had seventy-five cents, which I offered him. He took the change, thanked me profusely, then hugged me and hugged me and hugged me until I said, “I have to go.” He released me, thanked me again and again as I walked away. I told him he was more than welcome. Wow. I had no idea that 75 cents would mean so much to someone.  His joy made me thankful I had change to give him.

“Poverty is a noose that strangles humility and breeds disrespect for God and man.” (Dakota Sioux: in the Great Plains)

A woman was searching for a store on Main Street. I told her where it was. We walked together to a crosswalk. As we reached the crosswalk, I looked in all directions and saw no traffic. I started across the street when the woman grabbed my shirt and yanked me to stop. Whoa. I had not seen a car approach the intersection and start to turn toward us even though the woman and I were in the crosswalk. The driver stopped. I thanked the woman, a stranger, for looking out for me. When we reached the other side of the street safely, we hugged and said goodbye. Every day offers opportunities to give and/or be thankful. 

 “If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.” (Chief Tecumseh: Shawnee in the Susquehanna River area)

“Sharing and giving are the ways of God.” (Sauk: mostly in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Iowa)


Peggy Tarr

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...