Thanksgiving Day: to Thank or not to Thank…

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Every November, on the fourth Thursday of the month, the US celebrates Thanksgiving Day with food, drink, parades and sports.  Families gather together, whether they like each other or not, to eat, drink and be merry.  But this merry-making is not to be found everywhere for the day is not a celebration to many of the original peoples of this land. Continue reading

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The conquering of the American Hemisphere and Indian Country~Thoughts on Columbus Day 2010

 

Found in Wikimedia Commons- http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:American_progress.JPG

"Spirit of the Frontier" portraying the idea of manifest destiny, the holy duty to expand west in the name of God.

 

The American Indians were defeated because their time was spent arguing amongst themselves instead of uniting to overcome the Europeans.

The Europeans came on a mission.  The American Indians never quite understood “United we stand, divided we fall.”

The conquering of the American Hemisphere and Indian Country is a topic that has come up often in personal discussions, particularly around this time of year.  The comments above are representative of what I commonly hear from non-NdN folk when discussing Thanksgiving Day, Columbus Day, Independence Day or even the “special” status afforded natives when it comes to casinos, taxes and what have you.  It never ceases to amaze me how limited in scope the information is that supports these “enlightened” opinions, and how little people seek to educate themselves beyond that which they have been spoon fed as truth.  But it breaks my heart when the above mentioned opinion is shared by a person claiming native or indigenous identity.  The reason for this is that the above quoted comments are nothing but the parroting of Euro-centric propaganda that has been circulating for centuries.  Misinformation propagated to support manifest destiny, a modern rerun of the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition and right-by-might, rehashed.  It also justifies how and why natives deserve their lot, then and now, by “proving” the inferiority in native thought and action (or lack thereof).  The fact is that there were many elements involved in the conquest of our people, our relations and our lands.   Maybe this opinion, shared above, is not expressed to foster these anti-indigenous thoughts, in NdN or non-NdN, but it is nonetheless the idea conveyed by both the words and the attitudes behind them. Continue reading

An Attitude of Gratitude

Examiner.com posted this article regarding Thanksgiving and towards the end exhorts people, not to quit the celebration, but to share the Truth of it’s history.

The only concern I have with the telling of the “Truth” of Thanksgiving is the vast amounts of “Truths” out there!  Even among the links at the bottom of the post, and in internet search engines, you will find different versions of what, where, when and why Thanksgiving came to be.  History has been mauled by those in control and there is little agreement as to the details of this holiday.  It vacillates from the Spanish being the first to gather and give thanks to the Creator with a Mass of gratitude (although I think that one is not supposed to count because it was the Spanish), the Pilgrims, George Washington, Lincoln… all the way up to recent history, when congress passed it into law.  Then there are all the different native Nations who suffered the brunt of the initial brutalities upon meeting the Europeans, just before they celebrated these feasts!  Who’s Truth do we share then?

I do not disagree with the author’s encouragement to “instill in them [the children], the truth.” However, as inferred above, that Truth can very well be subjective.  Depending on the way you look at it,  you change the focus of the story.   At no moment do I deny the horrors of our history and I believe that the truth of our past should be taught; to each child the history of their Nation first and then that of our cousins.  But there is also a higher truth to be taught in the celebration of Thanksgiving, a truth that is not of the Europeans but of our very culture.

Continue reading