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First Nations Christmas Recipes for Thanks

Updated on June 25, 2012

First Nations peoples throughout the Western Hemisphere have respected a Creator and Great Spirit, although they did not likely hear of Christ until the Spanish arrived with missionaries and the English with their Protestantism. The various Indigenous groups also likely shared/share a belief in the spirit nature of all things.This leads to thanksgiving feasts many months of the year and not only in October or November. When the First Peoples hunt, they thank the beasts for giving their lives. They thank the crops for growing to feed them.

Many First Peoples, especially in what is now the US, discovered that the mission stories of Christ's birth and related events fulfilled certain tribal prophecies and did not interfere with their Indigenous beliefs. In fact, because Jesus is Hebrew and likely darker skinned, many Native Americans call him Red Man. They also like that he experienced the wilderness. Other native groups were not treated well by Christians - the Northeastern nations at Plymouth, for instance, but the maltreatment is not the only interaction had with Native Americans; much was good.

US Christmas is only 140 years old - Native American Christmas has been always

Christmas was not proclaimed a US national holiday until 1870, after the Civil War. My grandfather was born that year and lived about 100 years, but his parents may or may not have celebrated Christmas. I think that they did and it was a big farm Christmas, but one that was likely waylaid during the Civil War, with the men away fighting. My Great Grandfather died in 1870, so he missed the national holiday by a few months. Christmas had not been extremely popular in the North, according to Native American sources, but celebrated somewhat more openly in the South.

Regardless, the Huron Nation acquired their own Huron Carol for Christmas and a Nativity in which the Christ Child is attended buy a bear, a fox, and a bison. Gift giving is a tradition among the Hurons and many nations, many months of the year and not only in December. If everyone gives, no one will be in need. However, rather than St. Nicolas, it is Handsome Fellow in white buckskins who arrives with presents at Christmastime.

I would love for there to be Christmas Pow Wows for us to attend and enjoy. However, there are not, because to many of our First Peoples, every day is Christmas - a day of giving - and always has been. Native American Christmas is as forever Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

The link above gives a transliterated poetic version of the carol and several langauges, but I particularly like the first stanza in the literal translation:

Have courage, you who are humans, Jesus, he is born
Behold, the spirit who had us as prisoners has fled

Do not listen to it, as it corrupts our minds
They are spirits, coming with a message for us, the sky people

They are coming to say, Rejoice.

LOOK! HubPages staffers can enjoy their own Bow and Arrow at the Oakland Bay Bridge in San Francisco.
LOOK! HubPages staffers can enjoy their own Bow and Arrow at the Oakland Bay Bridge in San Francisco. | Source

With this recipe, we thank the traditional wild pig, the wheat in the field, the grapes on the vine, the spices in the forest, Grandmother Walnut Tree, and the settlers that brought coffee and sugar.

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 1 hour 30 min
Ready in: 1 hour 40 min
Yields: 10 - 12 Servings or more
5 stars from 1 rating of Sausage and Fruit Cake

Sausage and Fruit Cake


  • 1 Pound dark raisins
  • 1 Pound English Walnuts
  • 1 Pound ground sausage
  • 2 1/4 Cups brown sugar, light or dark -- You might substitute honey or molasses and increase the baking time several minutes. Test for doneness every 15 minutes after the first hour of baking.
  • 1 to 2 tsp mixed spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, ginger
  • 6 Ounces of brewed black coffee
  • 2 1/4 Cups flour

Note: If you use a spicier sausage, leave out the ginger.


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Mix all ingredients and place into a rectangular fruit cake pans.
  • Bake for 90 minutes or longer. Toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. If the cake begins to brown too much, cover with a foil tent.
  • Cool cake and wrap in wine soaked cloths, if desired. Place in air-tight container in a cool place.


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    • genejr1224 profile image


      7 years ago from Sacramento,Ca

      Best story i have read this year!

    • Support Med. profile image

      Support Med. 

      7 years ago from Michigan

      Seems Native Americans always knew the spirit and importance of giving. Hope we as a nation will remember as well. Voted/rated.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      7 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Many of those in the photo are handmade and may not be available in stores. Try collectible and Native American shops in your area.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      beautiful xmas tree, i love it where can i buy these First Nation decorations

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts

      A very beautifully written hub, and the Sausage and Fruit Cake recipe sounds yummy!

    • Rosie2010 profile image

      Rosie Rose 

      7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      What a wonderful informative hub about the First Nations Christmas celebrations. I have some friends who had attended a Pow Wow and they certainly had a great fun time.

      The sausage fruit cake sounds strange to me, but I'm adventurous and will try anything.

      Merry Christmas!


    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      7 years ago from London, UK

      OLh, I enjoyed that as always when I rea dyou hubs and especially about the First Nation. Thank you so much, Oatty.

    • daydreamer13 profile image


      7 years ago

      Wonderful! Voted up!

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Oops. Not sure whether or not my message posted. It just said that you've stirred my Christmas spirit in spite of barely-into-early-fall weather here in Dallas. Great things here. And I will visit more of the other links you've included. "Glogg Nog" sounds very interesting.

    • schoolmarm profile image


      7 years ago from Florida

      Very interesting information. I will have to try this recipe, I have never heard of a sausage and fruit cake but it does sound quite good. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image


      7 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Very interesting Patty, Enjoyed the carol as well.. Merry Christmas.

    • Wendy Krick profile image

      Wendy Krick 

      7 years ago from Maryland

      This looks great! I'll have to try it.

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 

      7 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      Thank you for this Hub! Voted up as usual, sharing on fb

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 

      7 years ago from Great Britain

      That was wonderful, Patty. Thank you. Everything from the 1st picture to the final recipe. and l loved the music. Take care.


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