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Native Americans Display Radical Gratitude for Food

Richard Twiss, a Native American Christian pastor, speaker, had a striking way to illustrate the radical gratitude that existed among the Yupik (Eskimo) people. In a 2012 sermon, Twiss told the following story:

Among the Yupik people of the western coast of Alaska, they have ideas about human and non-human persons and how animals give themselves to feed us. And we're to receive their life. So they have a couple of social patterns.
One of them is that when you eat a chicken, you eat everything on the chicken …. You do not feed the bones to dogs; you do not throw the bones away. You either burn them, or you bury them. Or, depending on the animal, you take the bones back to where it came from, because the primary value is gratitude and respect. You are grateful that that animal provided the food to nourish you, so you treat this gift with respect.

Possible Preaching Angles: Gratitude; Thanksgiving; Food; Meals—In our disposable culture, this practice may seem strange to us. But is it really stranger (or less Christian) than our practice of just tossing leftover food into the garbage? Is it strange to pause and find some way to remember that food is a special gift from God?

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