Oneewe: e pluribus unum

Many cultures embrace the value of “Out of many, one”
Shannon Holsey, president of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians in her office
Greg Mellis | NEW Media
Shannon Holsey

Thanksgiving reminds us that, no matter our differences, we are still one people, part of something bigger than ourselves.

As Henry David Theroux so eloquently stated “Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”

Because what makes us American are the ideals to which we pledge our allegiance. It’s about our ability to live up to our Mohican creed “Oneewe” that out of many, we are one.

Today, we continue to give thanks for those blessings, and to all who ensured that they would be our inheritance. We remember the faithful patriots who continue to serve and protect. We give thanks to the brave men and women who defend that freedom in every corner of the world.

We honor all people — from the First Americans or Native Americans to our newest arrivals — who continue to shape our nation’s story, enrich our heritage, and give meaning to our founding values, values we must never take for granted. That in America, we are bound not by any one race or religion, but rather an adherence to a common belief — that all of us are created equal.

That we may think, worship, and speak, and love as we please. That the gift of democracy is ours, and ours alone, to nurture and protect. “We the people” means everyone.

Never doubt, that is what makes us American — not where we come from, what we look like, or what faith we practice, but the ideals to which we pledge our allegiance.

It’s about our capacity to live up to the creed as old as our founding that out of many, we are one. As long as we continue to welcome the contributions of all people, as long as we stand up for each other, speak out for what is right, and stay true to these ideals — not just when it’s easy, but when it’s hard — then no one can ever take away our liberty.

Our best days will always be ahead. We will keep building a future where all our children know the promise of America. Unity does not have to mean uniformity. We must embrace and celebrate the diversity in all.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” — John Fitzgerald Kennedy



Shannon Holsey is president of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians