Full of Turkey and Full of Thanks

Tradition is a funny thing. 
Beliefs and customs that are passed down through the generations. Things we do, say or think that we're hardly aware of because they are so ingrained in us through our up-bringing. Thanksgiving is a perfect example. On Thanksgiving Day, we gather with loved ones and recognize our many blessings. But there's a catch. There must be a turkey and we must all eat it. It's tradition! What's more, there better be bread stuffing, cranberries in some form, cream of mushroom green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. At least that was the tradition in my family. And if we decide not to have any one of those things, we are "breaking" with tradition. Uh oh!

This Thanksgiving, I find myself thinking about the traditions of the Archaic people of the Lower Pecos. As our Alexandria Project unfolds, we find more and more repeated motifs that are evidence of deeply ingrained beliefs that crossed time and geography. We are daily reminded that the Archaic people shared beliefs and traditions that they passed them down through generations, just as we do. 

Chalk it up to sentimentality at my favorite holiday, but I feel certain that the ancient people also had special times to gather with loved ones and feel and express gratitude. Maybe there was even a special meal they prepared at that time, songs or dances they performed or even art they painted. Maybe one day through our work we will find out. 

And did they eat turkey? 
We sure think so! Turkeys are indigenous to North America. We have some small evidence of turkey bone in the archaeological record from Archaic time. By around 1000 A.D. we know they were here because the rock art proves it! Check out this turkey painted at Painted Shelter in the Red Monochrome style. He's even got a "beard" - that thing coming down from his chest - which shows he's a male. 

What else was on their "shopping list"? No bread, no cranberries, no green beans, no potatoes and no pumpkins... Substitute a little lechuguilla, mouse, snake, rabbit, fish, and prickly pear tuna. Yum! Gather round and give thanks!

We at Shumla are so grateful for each and every one of you. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. 

All the best,


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