I started writing this song after playing a show on Cape Cod. Mike and I were driving back towards Boston, seeing signs for towns with Native names: Chicopee, Mashpee, Cotuit.
I had just read about how the leaders of the Standing Rock Sioux would start each day of protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline with a prayer: they would pray both for the protesters and for the Army Corps of Engineers who were threatening their safety, their lives, their water. I thought, that’s the most powerful spiritual example and it comes from the people who were here in this land first. What if Americans, white Americans especially, could learn this practice that is some way Native to this land (a similar practice to MLK, Gandhi, Jesus)? How would it change us?
Since I was writing about Thanksgiving, I thought about football, a sport I grew up loving. We would have a touch football game for all the families on my street every Thanksgiving Day. I thought about Colin Kaepernick’s protest, I thought about racism against Black Americans and people of color.
I wanted the song to be structured like a mirror - the first half talks about what I was taught/not taught about the origins of America and the second half talks about what is really happening now as the result, I believe, of the un-resolved pain and tragedy that have been part of our true history.
It felt vulnerable to write and to sing this idea, that we could find healing if we look at our true history, really listen to each others’ different experiences. The truth is, in every abusive relationship, (except in the case of sociopaths), both the abused and the abuser feel pain. The wounds are there and everyone is walking around with them subconsciously. Hurting people hurt. Power without moral conscience creates a spiritual wound that can only be healed by coming completely clean.
Since Thanksgiving reminds me of family, I thought about my grandparents, Jewish Russian immigrants to the US - they left Russia to escape the Pogroms, massacres of Jewish people. It was so horrible they wouldn’t speak about what that part of their lives was like. Here we are with politicians who are attacking immigrants, again. That could be my family.
As we lead up to Thanksgiving, I hope this song helps you find a way to find gratitude for the reality of your own history, for our shared true history, and that it inspires you to move forward with that gratitude in your heart.
#Thanksgiving #Gratitude #BacktoMyGreen