Category Archives: Holidays

Native New Year Wishes for 2018

From  Talking Feather To All of Our Readers:

Wishing Everyone A Very Happy and Blessed New Year!

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Natives Celebrate the Winter Solstice for the New Year

“The start of the New Year is honored by many Native Americans, although many tribes have selected different dates as the last day of the year. In North American Indigenous cultures, the New Year is at the end of January or first part of February, based on constellations and moon phases. The timing of the New Year is usually in conjunction with Winter Solstice commemorations.”

Winter Soltice celebration-Lakota Sioux. image warpaths2peacepipes


Excerpt: Native American New Year Commemorations

“Native Americans of the North, Central, and South Americas have a fire ceremony to bring in the New Year. Some of the Native American traditional New Year observances include annual planting festivals, like that of the Hopi and Iroquois. In the Northwest, some Native American tribes celebrate New Year earlier than the rest of the western world.

For instance, the Umatilla tribes of eastern Oregon hold their ceremony just before the Winter Solstice on December 20. The people of the Hopi pueblos observe nine major religious ceremonies throughout the year that symbolize the changing of the seasons and the nature of the Hopi sacred universe. The Hopi believed that on the Summer Solstice, when the days are the longest, that the Sun God is closest to Earth.

The Iroquois Midwinter Ceremony, called the “Haudeshaune,” is in either January or February depending on the moon cycle.  When the new moon appears the spiritual year begins.

Image of Iroquois Midwinter Ceremony.

Again, many Indian tribes celebrate the New Year as part of their great Winter Solstice ceremonies. According to one First Nation spiritual leader from Canada, Blue Eagle, this is also the time of the Winter Solstice and for those who do not celebrate Christmas.

Aztec calendar.

Today, many Native American tribes celebrate the New Year with Pow Wows. In Mexico last year, Aztecas, Mayans and Huichols, on behalf of the United Nations, celebrated the New Year dawn by dancing humanity back into the ancient earth-honoring way of being.”

Category: Holidays

Natives giving “Thanks” on Thanksgiving…Maybe

“All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey… actually the foliage is awash with color but it is time for the annoying trilogy of holidaze that vex us as Natives. Ah yes, ‘tis the season of Columbus Day, Halloween and the American Thanksgiving. This trifecta of annoying events makes me SMH in befuddlement at the ignorance, crass behavior and borderline bigotry of those that continue the misanthropic adherence to the myths, rituals and customs of these celebrations.” A. Cramblit, ICTMN

Excerpt: Holiday Head Scratchers for Natives  By Andre Cramblit ICTMN

“Thanksgiving is full of romanticized notions of two peoples coming together to share in the bounty of the harvest. Sitting around a ravaged turkey carcass singing kum ba yah was definitely not the origins of this seasonal football

Massachusetts Bay Colonial Governor William Winthrop proclaimed the first official Day of Thanksgiving in 1637. The reason for this celebration? The festivities were held to mark the recent success of the Pequot massacre. Apparently the Gov’nah felt the need to commemorate the slaughter of nearly 700 men, women and children. Serve that with a slice of pumpkin pie, (I like extra dream whip on my piece).


This is indeed as good a time as any to show gratitude for having lived another year and that hopefully you are surrounded by loved ones and are in good health… As you pass through each day, give thanks to your ancestors for their courage and perseverance; know that wherever you are the soil under your feet is the land of some Tribe and is sacred, and remember that you are a role model. Save the drumstick for me please.


“As Native people we are encouraged to be thankful, to be mindful of the good in the world… Give thanks to Creation for giving us the food and natural environment we need to sustain ourselves.”  ~ Andre Cramblit~  A Karuk Tribal Member from the Klamath and Salmon rivers in northwest California

Category: Holidays

Remembering Our Veterans

“On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in the First World War, then known as “the Great War.” Commemorated as Armistice Day beginning the following year, November 11th became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938. In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars.”





“Though the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, November 11 remained in the public imagination as the date that marked the end of the Great War. In November 1919, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day. The day’s observation included parades and public gatherings, as well as a brief pause in business activities at 11 a.m. On November 11, 1921, an unidentified American soldier killed in the war was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.; the U.S. Congress had declared the day a legal federal holiday in honor of all those who participated in the war. On the same day the previous year, unidentified soldiers were laid to rest at Westminster Abbey in London and at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.


American effort during World War II (1941-1945) saw the greatest mobilization of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force in the nation’s history (more than 16 million people); some 5.7 million more served in the Korean War (1950 to 1953). In 1954, after lobbying efforts by veterans’ service organizations, the 83rd U.S. Congress amended the 1938 act that had made Armistice Day a holiday, striking the word “Armistice” in favor of “Veterans.” President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the legislation on June 1, 1954. From then on, November 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.”


Category: Holidays

Natives Honor the New Year with Traditional Foods

“In the Northwest, some Native Americans celebrate New Year earlier than the rest of the western world. In fact, tribal New Year is December 20 . The Umatilla tribes of eastern Oregon hold their ceremony just before the winter solstice. ..Indian New Year is the time to celebrate the return of the sacred foods.”A.King, NPR

Tradional Native salmon cooking. Photo- ictmntiff

Tradional Native salmon cooking. Photo- ictmntiff

Excerpt: … New Year Is Time To Honor Traditions By Anna King NPR

“Armand Minthorn is the spiritual leader of the tribes that live on the Umatilla Reservation, on the dry side of Oregon. The celebration is called kimtee inmewit . This goes back to when the world was new, Minthorn explains. The first food that was created was the salmon.

For many Natives traditonal foods are a big part of cultural celebrations. Photo-

Traditonal foods are a big part of cultural celebrations. Photo-

We call nusux. The second food was the deer. We call the deer nukt. The third was the bitter root we call sliiton. To honor these sacred foods the tribe sings, drums, dances, prays and shares a meal together at the longhouse. Tribal elder Linda Jones teaches younger women and girls how to gather the traditional foods for the tribes. Every year she goes out to the mountains and bluffs to harvest the wild celery, bitterroots and huckleberries.

Traditonal foods are a big part of cultural celebrations. Photo-

Traditonal foods are a big part of cultural celebrations. Photo-

In the community kitchen some elder women prepare meat stew and Indian fry bread. Lynn Sue Jones is 62…She kneads a mass of tacky bread dough to a loose rhythm. She is taking on new responsibilities this year -– raising two granddaughters –- three and five. Jones says the foods are sacred because they nourish the people, but also, When our elders pass on and go back to the ground; this is how they come back to take care of us, in these foods.”

“Everything is passed by word of mouth and that’s how we were brought up and that is how we do things…Whoever will listen. It ends up coming down to that — who’s going to listen.”  ~ Lynn Sue Jones~

Wishing Everyone A “Free-Spirit” 2016!

New Year Horse

Category: Holidays

Natives Make Christmas Their Own

With the spread of Christianity among some Native Americans in the early 20th century came certain Christmas rituals — trees and presents and jolly old Santa Claus — that were folded into traditional wintertime celebrations…. Some Native Americans put a special spin on Christmas, incorporating traditions and tales that date back ages.” L. Weeks, NPR

Native American Dances of Pojoaque Pueblo are beautiful and spiritual to watch. They are ceremonial in nature, expressing ancient traditions and connections to the earth. Santa Fe Pueblo

Native American Dances of Pojoaque Pueblo are beautiful and spiritual to watch. They are ceremonial in nature, expressing ancient traditions and connections to the earth. Santa Fe Pueblo

Excerpt: A Very Native American Christmas, Linton Weeks, NPR

“The Yale Expositor of St. Clair County, Mich., reported on December 18, 1913 that for certain Sioux dwelling in South Dakota, Christmas and its accoutrements came through government-run schools. In each village, the Sioux collected funds for a feast. One member dressed up as Kris Kringle and made speeches and handed out presents. Native American children, the newspaper noted, were quick to show interest in the Christmas tree.

A Native American family gathers around a Christmas tree in Montana, ca. 1900-1920. Library of Congress

A Native American family gathers around a Christmas tree in Montana, ca. 1900-1920. Library of Congress

The Salish passed down a Christmas story of a great and good man who came among their forefathers and performed miracles of all kinds, and on leaving them said he would return in the form of a large white coyote, They say he has appeared at different times, but has not been seen now for more than 150 years.

Traditional dancing at Christmas NM Pueblos

Traditional dancing at Christmas NM Pueblos

In San Felipe Pueblo, N.M., the 1913 Expositor account pointed out, the holiday celebration among Native Americans living there was a curious mixture of Christian and [Native] customs. Members went to the old mission church in the morning, held a feast at midday and then began a fantastic and ceremonial dance that continues for half a week.

Today, explains Deborah A. Jojola, Curator of Exhibitions at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque – which represents the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico — most of the Pueblo Nations within New Mexico have seasonal cycles for ceremonies and celebrations…On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, many of the Pueblos host special masses and dances. The Jemez Pueblo, for example, celebrates with Buffalo Dances on Christmas Eve and early morning on Christmas Day.

A buffalo dancer

A buffalo dancer

The Buffalo Dancers – make their way down from the nearby mesas into the Pueblo bringing the Spirit of Prayer, Song and Dance… In Isleta Pueblo, there is a winter dance held in the St. Augustine Church after the Christmas Eve mass. Many of the festivities are for all ages.

Luminarias @ Jemez Pueblo Mission

Luminarias @ Jemez Pueblo Mission

In virtually all ceremonies, Pueblo children are integral participants. Indian parents rarely, if ever, need a babysitter for traditional ceremonial preparations or actual events.”

Learn more about the Native Pueblos Here


card used for 2015American Indian Artwork

Category: Holidays