How Israel came to possess the land was a bloody story. But this passage conveys an attitude of respect. The aliens and the landless Levites are to be included in the feast of thanks for the land’s bounty.
Chief Peguis understood that land belonged to God for the benefit of all. How could land be owned by individuals? Peguis was told that if they farmed the land, it could belong to the indigenous people. So they learned to grow crops on the fertile soil of the Red River Valley north of Selkirk. But they were still not recognized as fully human by the settlers, whom Peguis had saved from starvation soon after their arrival. Baptism seemed to be the answer. Yet even that was not enough. Chief Peguis’ skeptical son noticed that his people were not welcomed into settlers’ living rooms, but only the porch or back kitchen. And in 1910, by devious means, that good land was cheated from Peguis’ people, in exchange for marginal land far from the settlers.
God of creation, help us to humbly learn about, to respect and to share with those who were here before us, and those who have come since. Amen. — HV