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All God’s Children and Becoming Allies for Young Families

All God’s Children and Becoming Allies for Young Families (BAYF) will be organizing an intergenerational visit to New Echota State Historic Site in Calhoun, GA on Saturday November 13, arriving at 2:00 pm (leaving the church in a caravan at 1:00 pm). If you’re interested, contact Sara Thomas You will need a mask, walking shoes, and a lunch. In terms of COVID safety: A lot of the exhibits are outdoors, and we are happy to meet you there if you take your own car.

Thanksgiving is approaching, and along with gratitude, generosity, and family; it’s a good time of year to talk about our state’s Cherokee and Creek people. New Echota is a historic site on which reproductions of historic structures have been built to commemorate the Cherokee efforts to live side by side with their white allies before they were forcibly removed. It is also the starting point for the Trail of Tears. After visiting New Echota exhibits, we will hold discussions in small groups at the picnic area, on the hiking trails, in our cars on the way home, or later in our homes. Questions and activities for children about the Cherokee and Creek people will be provided. You can access more information about New Echota at the GA state parks website.

The concept of sin has been weaponized to shame and marginalize, but if I tried to tell you the story of the Bible without human sin, it wouldn’t make much sense. In fact I couldn’t even get started with the human part of the story. Similarly, telling the story of the “first Thanksgiving” with gold-buckled hats and a big cooperative dinner belies the vast majority of our country’s interactions between white people, the American government, and the people who were thriving here in huge land-filling numbers before the pilgrims landed in what is now Plymouth, MA. The meal should have more seafood, the translator’s name wasn’t Squanto, and the small number of Europeans who cooperated with the people they found in a world that was only “new” to them were a tiny fraction of the overall story. Also, the story is generally told with a sense of cooperation and concession that does damage to present-day Wampanoag and other ancestors of Indigenous survivors still preserving their tribes’ culture and history.

BAYF will follow up our visit to New Echota with online resources for gently expanding the Thanksgiving story to honor the present day Wampanoag and to remember Tisquantum (Squanto), as well as Samoset and Ousamequin.

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