Margaret Craven wrote a novel titled I Heard the Owl Call My Name. In this book she tells of a young minister who was sent to the Kwakiutl Indians in a remote part of British Columbia. Through the course of his ministry, the minister learned these people did not have a word for “thank you.” It was confusing to the young man because these people were extremely generous. The missionary later discovered why this important word was absent from their vocabulary.
It was their custom of the Kwakiutls to return every favor with a favor of their own, and every kindness with an equal or superior gesture of love. The minister, realized the Kwakiutls don’t say “thank you,” because they do their thanks. Doing away with the phrase, “thank you” is not what we need to do, but doing our thanks, as well as speaking our thanks, would truly give new meaning to our expressions of gratitude.