Potlatch

The Potlatch ceremony originated among the Indians of the Pacific Northwest.  Potlatch literally means, ‘to give away’ or ‘a gift’.   Usually a winter festival, one tribe would host another and the ‘gifts’ exchanged were blankets, food, dances and songs.  The potlatch is considered a redistribution of wealth.  I believe that, for the most part, it was a way to ensure survival for all during the winter months.  The potlatch was banned by Canada in the late 1800’s and by the US in the early 1900’s.

I am reminded of this tradition because I recently was gifted by a friend with some awesome hand-me-down clothing.  We dispose so much of  our wealth into landfills when there are so many ways to potlatch.  Passing on unwanted, and unused items to family, friends or the community at large is a wonderful way to recycle.

Although many people attach a emotional stigma to this kind of giving, it is a sensible and easy way to spread wealth.  So, next time you are cleaning out your closets, the garage, the pantry, think about doing some personal potlatching.

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