What a Beautiful Month! Give-Away, BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER

Howdy!

Welcome to another terrific Tuesday!

Yummmmm…  Autumn — crisp air, scented delicately with falling leaves and the smoke from wood stoves;  Cinnamon and fresh apple cider, pumpkin pie, turkey and cranberry sauce, apple pie, the last of the corn on the cob…

And what about the “feels” of autumn? Traipsing through leaves, racking them up and jumping in them; picking up a leaf and tracing its pattern; warm days, cool nights, the pleasure of feeling Mother Earth prepare for a few months’ sleep.

And how about the sounds of autumn?  Cold nights and warm blankets, football games announcing the players; the sounds of cheerleaders and marching bands; long practices — even the quiet sound of leaves falling to the ground.  How I love it.

thanksgivingOf course, to the people who lived close to the earth, these were all the beauties of autumn, also.  So much was this the case that an entire festival of fun and merriment was devoted to autumn — and that festival was called the Harvest Festival.

Of course we are all pretty much aware that our Thanksgiving comes from the Eastern Indians, and in particular Squanto — and if you didn’t know about Squanto, I would highly recommend the movie, Squanto, starring a young and dreamy Adam Beach.  Sigh…

But what was this festival called Thanksgiving?  Did it happen just this one time?  Or was this Thanksgiving part of an ancient celebration of the American Indians to give Thanks to He who is known as the Creator.

Thanksgiving was one of several festivals amongst the Eastern Indians — in particular I’m talking about the Iroquois.  However, these ceremonies were common to all the Eastern tribes.  There were many festivals throughout the year, and they tended to follow the seasons.

The Iroquois celebrated six festivals, wherein they gave thanks to the Creator for all they had.  These festivals would open with speeches by leaders, teachers, and elders.  And of course there was much dancing, which was done not only for the fun of simply dancing, but it was also a sense of worship.  It was thought that because the Creator needed some sort of amusement, He gave the people dancing.  Let me tell you a little about some of these celebrations.

In spring — early March — it was time to collect together tree bark and sap – this was needed to repair houses and other things, such as canoes, bowls, etc.   Spring was also the time for planting.  This was the maple festival.  Next was the Planting festival.  Here prayers were sent to the Creator to bless their seed.

The Iroquois’ main food source was corn, beans and squash (the three sisters), and of course deer meat or other meat when available.  Family gardens were separated by borders that were broad and grassy — they would even camp on these borders and sometimes they were raise watch towers.

The next festival of the Iroquois was the Strawberry Festival.  This is where the people gave thanks to the Creator for their many fruits (like strawberries).  It was summertime.  The women gathered wild nuts and other foods, while the men hunted, fished and provided various meats for cooking.  Again, each festival was greeted with much dancing and merriment.  Did you know that the some Iroquois believed the way to the Creator was paved with strawberries?

The festival after that was the Green Corn Fesitval.  Again, the people thanked the Creator for the bounty of food that had been raised all through the summer.  Dancers danced to please the Creator and musicians sang and beat the drum.  Again there were many speeches to honor the people and the Creator.  There were team sports.  Lacrosse was the game that was most admired and it was played with great abandon by the men.  Women played games, too and often their games were as competitive as the men’s.

The season festival following that was…are you ready?  You’re right — The Harvest Festival.  By this time the women had harvested the corn, beans and squash.  Much of it would be dried.  Much went to feed families.  Husks were made into many different items.  Dolls, rugs, mats.  Did you know that the dolls didn’t have faces?  Now was the time to gather more nuts and berries.  Men were busy, too, hunting far away.  Bear, moose, beaver were all sought after and hunted.  Again, there was much celebration.  Dancing, speeches, prayer.  And of course — food.  It was this particular festival that was shared with the newcomers to this continent.

Can you guess what the next festival was?  Although this is a Christmas tree, it was not a celebration of Christmas — but if you guessed this, you were very close.  The next and last festival of the year was New Year’s.  At this time, a white dog was sacrificed as a gift to the Creator.  This was also a time for renewing the mind and body.  (Does that not remind you of our New Year’s resolutions?)  At this time, the False Face Society members would wear masks to help others to cleanse themselves of their bad minds and restore only their good minds.  There was again much celebration, much dancing, much merriment and enjoyment as each person would settle in for the long winter ahead of them.

The First Americans indeed did give this country very much, not only its festivals which we still remember to this day, but also it gave to this nation a fighting spirit for freedom.  In these times when there seems to be a forgetfulness about our American roots, it is wonderful to remember that the American Indian and the Love of Freedom went hand-in-hand.  What seems interesting to me is that our Thanksgiving festival still honors the custom of giving thanks for those gifts that He, The Creator, has given us.  To the American Indian all of these festivals contained this special element — that of giving Thanks to our Maker.

Perhaps it’s only because this one festival was shared by American Indian and Colonist alike that set the tone of Thanksgiving for future generations.  And I do believe that the love of autumn and giving thanks for that which belongs to us has its roots in The Harvest Festival, so beloved to the Eastern Indian Tribes.

What do you think?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas about this.

Now, with this said, I’d like to mention that I do have a new release which can be puirchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, KOBO, ITunes and Google Play.  And, I’ll be giving away a free copy of this book, BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER to one of you bloggers today.  All you have to do to enter is leave a comment.

Be sure to leave a comment to be entered into the free give-away.  Giveaway Guidelines are off to the right here on this page.

Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/4k6ahyfr

KOBO: https://tinyurl.com/3abxfuh

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ITUNES: https://tinyurl.com/w2z7adxk

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KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
Please refer to https://petticoatsandpistols.com/sweepstakesrules for all contest rules.

36 thoughts on “What a Beautiful Month! Give-Away, BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER”

  1. We owe so much gratitude to the Indigenous People of the Americas. We forget the influences they made on our traditions, cultivation of crops, and so much more.

    • I fully agree with you. Not only all of these things, but we don’t really give the Native Americans their due on freedom. The people coming over here were not free. They were enslaved and were escaping it. They came here with all men and women were free. It’s an inheritance that isn’t seen really for what it is. : )

      • True. And there are things which we gave them which were harmful and have caused generational problems. The treatment given to them is heartbreaking. We live on the land they were forced out of. I grew up on land originally inhabited by the Lenni-Lenape and I live on land originally owned by the Susquehannock.

      • It is so true. Sometimes it makes me cry when I think about it. Had we come together in an open circle with an open heart, we really could have learned from each other. One of the things I’m writing about now with the new series is the spiritual aspect of their lives. It’s in most of my books, but this one may go into it a little more in depth. Not sure yet. This is only the first book. It’s interesting to me how many of the medicine men became Christian — our ideals and mores, I think, were not much different.

  2. I loved your newt book. The story of Native Americans I love to read. My 4x’s grandmother was a Native American i believe of the Delaware tribe. I am still searching. She was a beautiful person.

  3. It seems many of the native tribes gifted these newcomers generously with knowledge and skills. In return they did receive friendship and respect from some. Unfortunately they received much darker “gifts” from others. Yet they tried to maintain their culture, their lands, and their religion. Remarkable!

    • Yes, and again, one of the best gifts the Native Americans gave us is their idea of freedom and that every man, woman and child was born of the Creator and was free. It was not so in Europe at this time. May the Native American gifts to humanity never be forgotten.

  4. Growing up in Western NY state and my best friend’s dad being Seneca and mom being Canadian Blackfoot and then moving here to Tucson, Arizona with the Apache and Navaho not to mention the San Xavier Mission just down the road with the Tohono O’Odham (known as the Papago when I moved here in Fall 1978) it is really something to see the difference in the tribal cultures – although being disabled now I don’t get to see as much here as I wish I could. There are similarities yet differences (Seneca had long houses whereas Navaho have hogans, etc.). I love learning about other cultures and have since I was a child writing to pen pals all over the world. How much we could learn from each other if we could just put our prejudices aside. Beneath the skin we are all the same. Love you my dear friend, as always. – Diane Faith 🙂

    • Hi Diane, Thank you so much for this wonderful post. You are right. There is only one race and it’s called the Human Race. Different colors of the race make it interesting. Different cultural values make it amazingly wonderful because we all have something to add to the circle that connects us all. Wonderfully said, Diane!

  5. The Indians helped out the pilgrims a great deal with teaching them how to raise and store the crops and what to hunt in the forest. With all the festivals, it showed everyone to be thankful for what they had.

  6. Reading Blue Thunder and the Flower sounds like a great read. I love reading about the Indian Tribes, their culture, Festivals and how they show kindness and gratitude and don’t tire of it. Maybe we can learn something from these people.
    That cover makes me want to read the book and review it in print format.
    I look forward to learning more about the author and their books.

  7. I loved your book, Karen! I gave you 5 stars, too!! I have Native American roots from both my mother and my father, and both of them were Cherokee. And, as we came from Tennessee a LONG time ago, we believe our ancestors walked the trail of tears all the way to Oklahoma, where they settled. It just breaks my heart how they were treated and how the “Indian” was beaten out of the little boys and their beautiful long hair was all chopped off, forcibly! The sweet little girls probably suffered in silence for the most part. I know they were made to feel so inferior that my ancestors did not even sign up on the Dawes Rolls. Therefore, I am unable to connect all the dots. My mother’s grandmother was disowned by her family for marrying a white man, even though they were both studying medicine! On my husband’s side, the story is much the same! No roll number, and nobody would admit to being part Indian, even though my husband’s great grandmother was full blood Cherokee. She taught my husband’s dad how to cane bottoms of chairs, make baskets, and do beaded jewelry. We are all so proud of our ancestry, but it was a thing of shame during the turn of the century, I guess. So, so sad.

    • Hi Lana! Thank you so much for your kind, kind words and also for leaving a review. This means so much to us authors, and is very, very appreciated. You know, my family had much the same thing. Our ancestry is Choctaw and about 5 different European ancestors. But, it was my great grandmother who brought the Indian heritage into the family and her daughter (my grandmother) was very proud of it. My father never talked about it, however, and he was the one who brought the heritage to me. So much was it the case to NOT have Indian heritage, my mother never did tell me I had any, even though I plagued her about it, cause I was certain it had to be there because I looked Indian. It wasn’t until I started writing that my neighbor told me of my heritage, because her mother was best friends with my grandmother. It was my brother who saw our famly tree and said it was Choctaw. Amazing. Until I asked, he’d never told me. I think my ancestors were on the Choctaw Trail of Tears because some of the Choctaw escaped when they reached the Mississippi and came up stream. My family comes from a town only 90 miles or so from the Mississippi. Like you, we are not on any rolls that I know of. For the most part, they tried to forget about it. But, they can’t stop those genetics because many of my features (not all by any means), but many of them are Indian. Thanks so much, Lana.

  8. Hi Karen, Loved your blog on the many festivals. Yes, we have learned a lot from Native Americans & taken so much from them. They are the first settlers, not Columbus…. Loved, Squanto & Adam Beach. I have followed him in most of his movies & TV films. Your new book, Blue Thunder & The Flower; sounds like a Awesome read. Thanks, for the chance to win a copy.\
    Enjoy all your books.

  9. Hi Lois! Thank you so much. Like you, it is the Indians who are the first settlers, not Columbus. I sure thought Adam Beach in Squanto was great. I also liked him very much in a more recent movie about the ghost dance where he played Charles Eastman. They made him look a great deal like Charles Eastman, also. Just recently, I watched an old movie with Shirley Temple, SUZANNA OF THE MOUNTIES. When I’d first seen the movie, I didn’t realize that, with the exception of the two Indians who did the talking, all of the Indians were Blackfeet including Shirley’s child co-star, Martin Good Rider, who was Blackfeeet. Another interesting thing about it was that Shirley — for whatever reason — made it a rule to not make friends with her other child co-stars. However, she and Martin did become friends and the Blackfeet adopted her into the Blackfeet Tribe. Interesting. One can see the movie on YouTube. Very good movie. Nice to hear from oyou, Lois.

  10. As close to nature as Native Americans lived, they knew that every season and time of year had something to celebrate and be thankful for. The settlers likely adopted the Fall festival because they saw the bounty and knew they would not starve over the winter. Sadly, they never focused much on the other connections with Mother Earth that led to the abundance they were enjoying.
    An excellent book which describes many of the festivals of Thanks you mention above is The Circle of Thanks: Native American Poems and Songs of Thanksgiving by Joseph Bruchac. He has written so many wonderful children’s books which can be enjoyed and appreciated by adults. Since, as a children’s librarian, I usually looked for books that would present things in a clear and accurate way, most of my recommendations are children’t books. For anyone who would like to share with their children and grandchildren, this is an excellent resource for some books: 7 Thanksgiving books for kids written from the Native perspective, https://coolmompicks.com/blog/2015/11/21/childrens-books-about-thanksgiving-from-native-perspective/. Many are good for adults also.
    Thanks for the interesting article. I hope you have an enjoyable Fall.

    • Hi Patricia! Thank you so much for your wonderful observations. I’ll have to look for this book. I already have many books by Joseph Bruchac and yes, they are children’s books but they pack a lot of info into those children’s books. I believe he is Iroquois, isn’t he? I’ll have to look at it again. Do well, Patricia.

  11. I love everything about Thanksgiving although it is hard to cook so much food but I simply enjoy remembering what I’m grateful for and spending time with my family and friends

    • Hi Kellie! I love it, too. I hear you on the cooking and baking. Generally, we all chip in to cook/prepare/bake different dishes, which makes it a little easier. But, even then, it’s still a lot.

  12. This land was not ours for the taking. It breaks my heart to see how the indigenous people are treated today while we have so much more. We owe them so much. I’m thankful for everything I have and everybody who made it possible.

  13. Hi Charlene, I agree with you. Often the people were tricked out of their land — at least in the beginning before they “learned” better. They simply had a different idea about life and about the land, water and air. The incoming culture said they didn’t value the land, that it “belonged” to all the people. I personally think this was the justification for committing the wrongs upon the Native population. They sure did value their land. All tribes had their land and their boundaries and they protected those lands. Anyway, my take on it. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. : )

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