Thanksgiving: National Day Of Mourning

I mourn the loss of my specific tribal heritage due to my biological family being assimilated into Christianity, the shame that religion put into them, which caused them to lose their tribal heritage – thus mine.

The Massacre For Which Thanksgiving Is Named (Pt.2)

red_black_rug_design2American-Indian-Heritage-Month

photo credit: Aaron Huey

I mourn the loss of Native Languages, the loss of cultures and ceremonies, and the incomprehensible loss of lives due to arrival of the disease called  Christopher Columbus.

I mourn the loss of Matriarchal Societies due to the sexist, male dominated invaders.


Unlearning the Language of Conquest Scholars Expose Anti-Indianism in America. “Where Are Your Women?: Missing In Action,” by Barbara Alice Mann. p. 121, 122, 124.

…in the often fractious discussions of the extent of Native American contributions to modern Euro – American culture, the glaring omission of women continues almost utterly unaddressed…Worse, from the European perspective, was the level of political clout wielded by woodlands women. The sixteenth – century Spaniards in La Florida (the whole American southwest) were nonplussed by matrilineage and the cacicas (female chiefs) with whom they were forced to deal…Spanish frustration was not a little focused on Guale females, who undermined patriarchal tampering with Guale culture…In 1724, the Jesuit missionary Joseph Francois Lafitau recorded in astonishment that Haudenosaunee women were “the souls of the councils…” Judicial affairs so entirely belonged to women that any woodlands man who wished to become a jurist or a negotiator had first to have been “made a woman” in order to be qualified for the job…

I mourn the incomprehensible loss of lives due to the smallpox infected blankets.

I mourn the incomprehensible loss of lives due to each tribe’s

Trail Of Tears. I grieve the incomprehensible loss of life and culture that made this world a better place: those tribes who tried surviving by moving peacefully during forced removal, and those who tried surviving by fighting.

Address to the Cherokee Nation

SOURCE

“Cherokees! The President of the United States has sent me with a powerful army, to cause you, in obedience to the treaty of 1835 [the Treaty of New Echota], to join that part of your people who have already established in prosperity on the other side of the Mississippi. Unhappily, the two years which were allowed for the purpose, you have suffered to pass away without following, and without making any preparation to follow; and now, or by the time that this solemn address shall reach your distant settlements, the emigration must be commenced in haste, but I hope without disorder.

I mourn the incomprehensible loss of life from the Washita Massacre, the Sand Creek Massacre, and the Massacre at Wounded Knee.


America’s Third World: Pine Ridge, South Dakota

Unemployment at 80%. Fifteen people per home. Life expectancy rates of 50 years. The third world? Not hardly. Try South Dakota.

I mourn the incomprehensible  loss of language and culture from the Indian Boarding Schools.

I mourn the loss of Indian Territory, which became Oklahoma; since, there would have been many more indigenous languages thriving and American Indian children would be educated about their culture and history. Also, I mourn the continuation of

Land Run Re Enactments.

I mourn the loss of the generations that were lost, due to the genocide from the Forced Sterilizations of Indigenous Women.

I mourn the loss of the buffalo, which have been intentionally  slaughtered in Montana.

I mourn the suffering that my relatives the Navajo had to endure, being forcefully removed from Big Mountain.


Source

This is the first time the U.S. is being formally investigated by the United Nations for violations of the right to freedom of religion or belief.

I mourn the loss of our youth, who have committed  suicide to the point of it having been a state of emergency.

And, I mourn being in a culture that overall is still racist, using the dehumanizing term  Redskins.


Around the Campfire: Indian Hate Groups

Rudy Ryser says the total Indian hate group list now has more than 50 organizations on it. They claim to have 500,000 members, but Ryser puts their active membership at 10,850. The number of people who give money or write support letters he puts at 34,150, which is a potential force. They are still trying to eliminate reservations, outlaw tribal governments, and declare an end to the “Indian problem.”

These hate groups will be the next wave of people who will try to terminate all Indian treaties. It has happened before, and it will happen again.

I mourn what would have been, had the predators never came.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


THE SUPPRESSED SPEECH OF WAMSUTTA (FRANK B.) JAMES, WAMPANOAG To have been delivered at Plymouth, Massachusetts, 1970


…Even before the Pilgrims landed it was common practice for explorers to capture Indians, take them to Europe and sell them as slaves for 220 shillings apiece. The Pilgrims had hardly explored the shores of Cape Cod for four days before they had robbed the graves of my ancestors and stolen their corn and beans.

Mourt’s Relation describes a searching party of sixteen men. Mourt goes on to say that this party took as much of the Indians’ winter provisions as they were able to carry.


Massasoit, the great Sachem of the Wampanoag, knew these facts, yet he and his People welcomed and befriended the settlers of the Plymouth Plantation. Perhaps he did this because his Tribe had been depleted by an epidemic. Or his knowledge of the harsh oncoming winter was the reason for his peaceful acceptance of these acts. This action by Massasoit was perhaps our biggest mistake. We, the Wampanoag, welcomed you, the white man, with open arms, little knowing that it was the beginning of the end; that before 50 years were to pass, the Wampanoag would no longer be a free people.

What happened in those short 50 years? What has happened in the last 300 years? History gives us facts and there were atrocities; there were broken promises – and most of these centered around land ownership. Among ourselves we understood that there were boundaries, but never before had we had to deal with fences and stone walls. But the white man had a need to prove his worth by the amount of land that he owned. Only ten years later, when the Puritans came, they treated the Wampanoag with even less kindness in converting the souls of the so-called “savages.” Although the Puritans were harsh to members of their own society, the Indian was pressed between stone slabs and hanged as quickly as any other “witch…”

“Look At Us” – John Trudell (Video)


“Look At Us” – John Trudell

We do not mean you and your christian children any bad, but you all came to take all we had we have not seen you but we have heard so much it is time for you to decide what life is worth we already remember but maybe you forgot.

Look at us, look at us, we are of Earth and Water

Look at them, it is the same

Look at us, we are suffering all these years

Look at them, they are connected.

Look at us, we are in pain

Look at them, surprised at our anger

Look at us, we are struggling to survive

Look at them, expecting sorrow be benign

Look at us, we were the ones called pagan

Look at them, on their arrival

Look at us, we are called subversive

Look at them, descending from name callers

Look at us, we wept sadly in the long dark

Look at them, hiding in tech no logic light

Look at us, we buried the generations

Look at them, inventing the body count

Look at us, we are older than America

Look at them, chasing a fountain of youth

Look at us, we are embracing Earth

Look at them, clutching today

Look at us, we are living in the generations

Look at them, existing in jobs and debts

Look at us, we have escaped many times

Look at them, they cannot remember

Look at us, we are healing

Look at them, their medicine is patented

Look at us, we are trying

Look at them, what are they doing

Look at us, we are children of Earth

Look at them, who are they?

Unlearning the Language of Conquest Scholars Expose Anti-Indianism in America. p. 219


As difficult as it may be for non – Indians to realize the corruption of American Institutions, such as universities, or to recognize the hypnotic effect of propaganda and hegemony, it may be far more difficult for them to mitigate the shadow side of their own cultural histories. In this chapter a non – Indian (David Gabbard) scholar stresses how vital it is to do so nonetheless, for until a true realization occurs, the United States of America will likely continue its similar intrusions of colonialism in other parts of the world and on other people. He points out that for this realization to take place, we must recognize First Nations scholarship as a set of practices aimed at helping everyone remember themselves and that efforts to discredit that scholarship and the worldviews that it attempts to recover can keep us in a cycle of genocide that will ultimately consume us.

The Massacre For Which Thanksgiving Is Named (Pt.2)

( – promoted by navajo)

and out of that heightened violence came the massacre for which Thanksgiving is named.


Thanksgiving Day Celebrates A Massacre

William B. Newell, a Penobscot Indian and former chairman of the Anthropology department at the University of Connecticut, says that the first official Thanksgiving Day celebrated the massacre of 700 Indian men, women and children during one of their religious ceremonies. “Thanksgiving Day” was first proclaimed by the Governor of the then Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637 to commemorate the massacre of 700 men, women and children who were celebrating their annual Green Corn Dance…Thanksgiving Day to the, “in their own house”, Newell stated.

– small snip –

—–The very next day the governor declared a Thanksgiving Day…..For the next 100 years, every Thanksgiving Day ordained by a Governor was in honor of the bloody victory, thanking God that the battle had been won.”

Without having the book or being able to see it online, the proclamation appears, according to Richard Drinnon, to have come from William Bradford. “‘Thanksgiving Day'” was first proclaimed by the Governor of the then Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637,” as from Newell, which was John Winthrop.

But “William Bradford became the governor of Plymouth after the first governor died in 1621.”

And in “1631, John Winthrop (1588-1649) became the first elected official in America-governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.”

They were both Puritans, they both probably said it.


Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian Hating & Empire Building

The original Thanksgiving was marked by prayer and thanks for the untimely deaths of most of the Wampanoag Tribe due to smallpox contracted from earlier European visitors. Thus when the Pilgrims arrived they found the fields already cleared and planted, and they called them their own.

– snip –

He was inspired to issue a proclamation: “This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots.” The authentic Thanksgiving Day was born.

The following source cites Drinnon in the next paragraph, so I assume the following came from Drinnon as well.


Source

Jump 129 years to 1621, year of the supposed “first Thanksgiving.” There is not much documentation of that event, but surviving Indians do not trust the myth. Natives were already dying like flies thanks to European-borne diseases. The Pequot tribe reportedly numbered 8,000 when the Pilgrims arrived, but disease had reduced their population to 1,500 by 1637, when the first, officially proclaimed, all-Pilgrim “Thanksgiving” took place. At that feast, the whites of New England celebrated their massacre of the Pequots. “This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots,” read Massachusetts Bay Governor John Winthrop’s proclamation. Few Pequots survived.

The first Official Thanksgiving was gratitude for genocide in 1637, and in 1676 – 1677 “a day was set apart for public thanksgiving,” because nearly all of them were exterminated by then.


http://www.dinsdoc.com/lauber-…

3 See Sylvester, op. cit., ii, p. 457, for expedients adopted by Massachusetts to obtain money to defend the frontiers. Yet the number killed and sold, along with those who escaped, practically destroyed the warring Indians. According to the Massachusetts Records of 1676-1677 a day was set apart for public thanksgiving, because, among other things of moment, “there now scarce remains a name or family of them (the Indians) but are either slain, captivated or fled.”


http://rwor.org/a/firstvol/883…

In their victory, the settlers launched an all-out genocide against the remaining Native people. The Massachusetts government offered 20 shillings bounty for every Indian scalp, and 40 shillings for every prisoner who could be sold into slavery. Soldiers were allowed to enslave any Indian woman or child under 14 they could capture. The “Praying Indians” who had converted to Christianity and fought on the side of the European troops were accused of shooting into the treetops during battles with “hostiles.” They were enslaved or killed. Other “peaceful” Indians of Dartmouth and Dover were invited to negotiate or seek refuge at trading posts – and were sold onto slave ships.

– snip –

After King Philip’s War, there were almost no Indians left free in the northern British colonies. A colonist wrote from Manhattan’s New York colony: “There is now but few Indians upon the island and those few no ways hurtful. It is to be admired how strangely they have decreased by the hand of God, since the English first settled in these parts.” In Massachusetts, the colonists declared a “day of public thanksgiving” in 1676, saying, “there now scarce remains a name or family of them [the Indians] but are either slain, captivated or fled.”


Fifty-five years after the original Thanksgiving Day, the Puritans had destroyed the generous Wampanoag and all other neighboring tribes. The Wampanoag chief King Philip was beheaded. His head was stuck on a pole in Plymouth, where the skull still hung on display 24 years later.

Furthermore, the continuing historical context of the Massacre for which Thanksgiving is named was in the context of “slave-producing wars in New England.”

The war consisted of two battles: the Mistick Fight, and the Swamp Fight. In the first of these two events, but seven captives were taken.1 In the second, the Swamp Fight, about one hundred and eighty captives were taken.2 Two of the sachems taken in the Swamp Fight were spared, on promise that they guide the English to the retreat of Sassacus. The other men captives, some twenty or thirty in number, were put to death.3 The remaining captives, consisting of about eighty women and children, were divided. Some were given to the soldiers, whether gratis or for pay does not appear. Thirty were given to the Narraganset who were allies of the English, forty-eight were sent to Massachusetts and the remainder were assigned to Connecticut.4  


During the years 1675 and 1676, one finds mention of the sale of Indians in Plymouth in groups of about a hundred,2 fifty-seven,3 three,4 one hundred and sixty,5 ten,6 and one.7 From June 25, 1675 to September 23, 1676, the records show the sale by the Plymouth colonial authorities of one hundred and eighty-eight Indians.8

    In the Massachusetts Bay colony a similar disposal of captives was accomplished. On one occasion about two hundred were transported and sold.9 There is extant a paper written by Daniel Gookin in 1676, one item of which is as follows: “a list of the Indian children that came in with John of Packachooge.” The list shows twenty-one boys and eleven girls distributed throughout the colony.10

Hence, the continuing historical context of the Massacre for which Thanksgiving is named: “In Massachusetts, the colonists declared a ‘day of public thanksgiving’ in 1676, saying, “there now scarce remains a name or family of them [the Indians] but are either slain, captivated or fled.”

A cold question arises about whether “the sale of Indians in Plymouth” was at least silently appreciated by the colony. Did they? Were they glad “the Indians” were almost exterminated? They never actually said they were far as I know.


Source

It all began when Philip (called Metacom by his own people), the leader of the Wampanoag Indians, led attacks against English towns in the colony of Plymouth. The war spread quickly, pitting a loose confederation of southeastern Algonquians against a coalition of English colonists. While it raged, colonial armies pursued enemy Indians through the swamps and woods of New England, and Indians attacked English farms and towns from Narragansett Bay to the Connecticut River Valley. Both sides, in fact, had pursued the war seemingly without restraint, killing women and children, torturing captives, and mutilating the dead. The fighting ended after Philip was shot, quartered, and beheaded in August 1676.

How many were glad Saddam Hussein was hung? How many would be glad if all the perpetrators of 9-11 were shot? One last question, how many realize that then and now,  colonialism always brings more violence as “a colonizing European nation was asserting political jurisdiction.”  


Puritans, Indians, and Manifest Destiny. p.75 – 76

…But tribal rivalries and wars were relatively infrequent prior to Puritan settlement (compared to the number of wars in Europe)…Neither would have increased if it were not that a colonizing European nation was asserting political jurisdiction, in the name of God, over indigenous New England societies…When thus threatened with the usurpation of their own rights, as native tribes had been threatened years before by them, Puritans came to the defense of a system of government that was similar, in important ways, to the native governments that they had always defined as savage and uncivilized…

Some have lost careers over stating the obvious: the US brings it upon itself.


Howard Zinn. A People’s History Of The United States. p. 682.

We are not hated because we practice democracy, value freedom, or uphold human rights. We are hated because our government denies these things to people in Third World countries whose resources are coveted by our multinational corporations. That hatred we have sown has come back to haunt us in the form of terrorism.

(Paraphrasing)

“And in secret places in our minds, in places we don’t talk about, we can’t handle the truth.”

That is true now, and it was true then. Genocide and slavery “saved lives,” just the lives the dominant culture wanted to live. And for that, the dominant culture (a mind set) is grateful.


http://www.republicoflakotah.c…

William Bradford, in his famous History of the Plymouth Plantation, celebrated the Pequot massacre:

“Those that scraped the fire were slaine with the sword; some hewed to peeces, others rune throw with their rapiers, so as they were quickly dispatchte, and very few escapted. It was conceived they thus destroyed about 400 at this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fyer, and the streams of blood quenching the same, and horrible was the stincke and sente there of, but the victory seemed a sweete sacrifice, and they gave the prayers thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to inclose their enemise in their hands, and give them so speedy a victory over so proud and insulting an enimie.”

“William Bradford, the author of Of Plymouth Plantation (c. 1630, c. 1646), has been hailed as the father of American history.”– He sure as hell is.

Correction:


The timeline itself along with basic knowledge of the Pilgrim’s and Puritan’s religious beliefs exposes the fact that historically speaking, Thanksgiving was literally about gratitude for genocide.


The Massacre For Which Thanksgiving Is Named (Update)

My User Name is of the Wampanoag King, Pometacom
(6+ / 0-)

Recommended by:

   Sean Robertson, capelza, i like bbq, Winter Rabbit, mamamedusa, brentbent

Son of Massasoit, brother of the murdered Wamsutta, best friend of Tispaquin, the Black Sachem of Nemasket. All but Massasoit were murdered by the Pilgrims. Wamsutta was murdered in prison (without explanation), Pometacom (King Phillip was shot and beheaded, and his wife and children were sold into slavery to Barbados, Tispaquin was promised that if he surrendered his life and his family’s life would be spared. When he did surrender, he was beheaded and his wife and children were sold into slavery to Barbados.

I was born and grew up a few miles from Plymouth, Mass. These are the historical facts we were deliberately not told when going to school. It’s not so much that our teachers lied to us, they had been lied to, and they were just repeating the lies without even knowing they were lies.

In 2000, I finally wrote a poem to deal with my anger of how much I had been lied to as a young kid growing up in the home of the Wampanoag. It is here:

http://www.glooskapandthefrog….

Below is the story of Tispaquin, the Black Sachem:

http://www.friendsofsebago.org…

http://www.friendsofsebago.org…

For those not wanting to click through, here is the poem:

Pometacom

By Douglas Watts

I was born on soil soaked with blood

Where the head of King Philip was ground in the mud

By the Pilgrims of Plymouth, and their first born sons.

They put his head on a spike and let it rot in the sun.

Shackled his children and family.

Shipped them to Barbados and sold them into slavery.

Now they taught me in grade school

About the first Thanksgiving

How Massasoit and Squanto kept the Pilgrims living.

But the teachers never told us what happened next.

How the head of King Philip was chopped off at the neck.

The teachers never told us what happened next.

How the head of Pometacom was sawed off at the neck.

The teachers never told us what the Pilgrims did

To Massasoit’s second son.

They put his head on a spike and let it rot in the sun.

The teachers never told us what they did

To kids who swam in the same brooks as me.

They put their legs in iron chains and sold them into slavery.

My name is Douglas Watts.

by Pometacom on Thu Nov 19, 2009 at 10:00:02 PM PST

Day After Thanksgiving Observance: Native American Heritage Day

( – promoted by navajo)

Native American Heritage Day

Friday, the day after Thanksgiving

Most people aren’t aware of this, but last June, President Obama signed into law a joint resolution of the House and Senate, sponsored by Rep. Baca of California and Sen. Inouye of Hawaii, naming the Friday after Thanksgiving Native American Heritage Day, “to honor the achievements and contributions of Native Americans to the United States.”

The general truth, that we little understand the implications of what we celebrate, and that we should become more aware of our history and how others view it, is very appropriate to carry in our thoughts on this supposedly contemplative occasion.  

My family origins are with an ancestor who came over from England in 1680.  Nearly a century later, a descendant of his fought in the American Revolution.  My great grandfather learned a portable trade growing up in Litchfield, Connecticut, as a wheelwright, and made it all the way West – to Albion, NY.  Despite the long history of my family in America, I largely am an expert in the ignorance of Mainstream America in this subject area, beyond the Disneyfied bubble many of us have lived in. I feel I should comment from my attempts to overcome this.  

So, as a non-expert, how to get across some things about American Indian ways of life that enrich us?  There are so many ways one might go about this.  A list of things like corn, so much a staple of our diets that our bodies are nearly identical to corn in chemical analysis?  Quinine?  The insight into political process and governance that Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson gained from meeting and talking with councils of the Six Nations confederacy?  

Given the spiritual and family nature of this holiday for many people, maybe it would be interesting to explore something most people might not consider.  

Several years ago I was living on the main campus of the Navajo Nation’s tribal college, in Tsaile, Az (derived from the Navajo word for a place where water enters the canyon) at the head of Canyon de Chelly in a stunning setting on the flanks of the Chuska (Ch’osgai – white spruce) Mountains, high up at 7200 feet.  

I thought I was going to a public lecture, but found myself in a large meeting convened on the Navajo Nation by many medicine men, tribal college leaders, tribal government and legal experts and others concerned about the issue of spreading water from sewage treatment onto the slopes of a sacred mountain.  This was approved by the National Park Service under Bush.  Fake snow  for ski tourism on the mountain near Flagstaff.

The purpose was to review  the legal strategy for opposing the Park Service action before the appellate court and possibly the Supreme Court on behalf of the Nation, and some fifteen other tribal entities as well.  

Harry Walters, a well known expert on Navajo culture, a teacher at the college and a tribal elder, explained the difference between “Western” viewpoints on issues such as this and “Indian” ways of seeing it, thus to explore the problem of translating the issue into language useful in a courtroom.  

I should mention that Dine’ College was founded on the principle that Indian youth could best be prepared for a future as leaders for the Nation, and successful people in the larger culture, through an education that honors traditional Indian views of life, as well as the accreditation requirements for US colleges.  The educational philosophy uses an ancient wisdom tradition description, Sa’a N’yae Bikeh Hozhon.  It isn’t translateable directly.

This is the sort of issue at the heart of the cultural divide between the two different traditions.  Language is a real limitation when it really represents different ways of thinking.  

Specific breaking down into atoms, molecules or logical bits that can be categorized is the “Western” gift to mankind.  It creates science and the benefits derived therefrom.  It also creates problems when people and cultures are subjected to compartmentalized thinking that allows them to be dismissed as less than human or irrelevant.  This is the source of war and horrible legacies that we know all too well, unless we dismiss the truth of history as many do – also made possible by compartmentalized, limited, left brain thinking.  

The more fluid, open and right brained intelligence welcomes more subjective experience as truth.  Poetry and art are more congruent than, say chemistry.  More comfort with ambiguity.  Less comfort with regimentation.

Walters drew a line and a circle.  More or less, straight line logic that sees things in terms of a continuum, such as a timeline or a process is one way of looking at the world, and a circle, where all things are seen as a gestalt with no beginning or end is another.

One might compare this to an Eastern, maybe Buddhist philosophy.  But it goes further.

The wisdom to be found in American Indian philosophy cannot be separated from ancient experience of place.  This is why land issues are so vastly crucial.  Dine’ people, especially in the very center of the Nation, have the fortune of living on land that direct ancestors walked going back at least into the fifteen hundreds.  Maybe further back.

The reason that there is a dispute over the sacred mountain is that there is no distinction between the time of Creation – back then in ancient times – and now.  The figures in the myths of origin, notably the Yei, are still alive and present within the four sacred mountains that define the Dine’ world.  These are deities.  Peeing in the baptismal font, as it were, is not only disrespectful, but could harm balance on a profound level and cause a drift into negativity across the land, increasing criminal thinking, drug and alcohol abuse, and bad public leadership.  Maintaining balance in the world is the essential issue.  

One could talk about this in terms of String Theory.  Time exists all in one place and we live in a dimension of it, not able to experience beyond what our senses are designed to process.  We are limited beings who cannot take in more than a small amount of reality.  We live in very limited ways.  We need some kind of help with enlarging into our potential as individuals and as a society.  What we seek, that we may lack, is proper balance.  Calibrating balance is the larger work of consciousness leaders.  The ideal is what is meant by the word, “beauty.”

The insight that we live in a landscape that we ought to open ourselves to having reverence for, is a valuable insight.  Heedless existence that has no respect for Others, is completely selfish and allows unchecked consumption of everything without respect for any consequences in the future is the opposite of balance, of beauty.

Navajo families gather in the fall and winter for Yei Bi Chei ceremonies.  These may be open to the public, with hand painted signs visible along roads pointing to them.  Traditionally, they last for nine days.  People do take off work, telling supervisors that they must go to a family ceremony and this is acceptable, with compromises.  There are now short form ceremonies lasting maybe only a day or so.  But there are still very lengthy observances among the most traditional folks.  

I attended a Christmas Eve Yei Bi Che a few years ago, up the road a few miles at Lukachukai, as it happens, an historic center of ceremonialism.  Here’s an image: http://www.ed-resources.net/…

The elaborate ceremony involved a specially built ceremonial Hogan (an eight-sided log house) a lighted area out front, four ceremonial bonfires in a line on either side of a dance runway leading out into the sagebrush, and a large area for parking in an adjacent field.  The medicine man conducting this performs a long series of complex songs that are the equivalent of a libretto for a long opera, and executes sand paintings and other rituals in private, in the hogan.  He also manages and oversees everything so it is all done right.

A line of dancers comes in from the field, approaching the patient, seated in front of the hogan.  At night, the area between the bonfires is lit, and the dancers enter from complete darkness.  Out here, there are no city lights.  No lights at all.  Only stars, which are bright and close enough to almost touch in the high altitude air far from traffic or smokestacks.  It was cold.  Fifteen degrees.  No one in the large crowd was complaining about it, so I didn’t remark on it either. But I did get some hot chocolate from the guy in the trailer with the fry bread, Navajo tacos (mutton in fry bread) and coffee.  

I contemplated, among other things, the license plates on about a hundred pickup trucks and cars, some idling with people inside warming up.   When the call goes out, family gathers as they might for a wedding, driving in from everywhere imagineable.  

Navajos are unified by a strong sense of family, clan, community.  It is a healthy support system.  For those who participate in this, resources can be shared that might help get someone through a distant college,  create a great network of caregivers for children, even capital for business investment.

The line of dancers, dressed in white body paint and the unique masks representing the Yei, move through the ritual in stages, calling out in the strange hooting that evokes supernatural utterance.  At some point, the dancers may be “possessed” (a western term that will have to do) by the actual Yei who enter them and bring healings and blessings.  This is one reason so many people are so dedicated to dropping what they are doing and driving however many miles they have to in order to make it.  

In “The Web of Life” Fritjof Capra points out the work of physicist Ilya Prigogine, who won a Nobel Prize for postulating systems theory.  In this “New Physics” everything is connected to everything, in a giant web, and not in straight line sequences.  The world wide web is an example.  The Gaia system is another.  I guess one could say String Theory extends this.

The first Europeans to come to these shores, like the Pilgrims, did not understand ecology.  (anybody talking about String Theory back then would have been accused of blasphemy, or worse.)  They believed in Man’s Dominion over Creation.  A sense of reverence for all things, seen or not seen, understood or not understood, a sense that man does not have the right to dominate but is an equal part of the whole web of life –  is an essential indigenous wisdom.  This is ancient human heritage for all cultures, but it has been a lost wisdom through the European Christian era, with its war on the indigenous world of Europe, brought here by the settlers.

Perhaps one of the great gifts of the meeting of the “Western” and Indigenous minds can still be a rediscovery of that deeply ancient wisdom which might be relevant to our future survival as Homo Sapiens.  

Last Thanksgiving, or around then, we had a dinner guest from Lukachukai, a graduate faculty member in the education department who had lived for some years in San Francisco and was on his way to an Ivy League university to do a lecture.  I remember him saying, “We have no wisdom to share with anyone. Look at us.  We are a devastated people.  We live in poverty.  Look at the alcohol, the domestic violence, people leaving the reservation for jobs a long way away.”

You can certainly see a lot of cultural devastation and the history is full of causes for grieving.  But on deep reflection, I believe that if the core of indigenous experience is ever lost, all mankind will suffer from that in ways we may never grasp.  I prefer to take what opportunities there might be, to honor what wisdom I might be able to comprehend.  That isn’t an easy process, and yes, it is full of contradictions.  

A line came to me for a poem once:  “we will be shown what we can see.”

Wisdom begins with being fully open to the idea that we may not know everything or understand everything, but we might do better at that if we try, in time.  

What I am saying is that the differences between perspectives have in the past led to killing and huge conflict.  We should contemplate, instead, the ways that we can learn to open our minds to new dimensions of understanding and gain new ground in the process.  That is something to consider and give thanks over – for the future.

Hozho Nahastle

Hozho Nahastle

Hozho Nahastle

Hozho Nahastle  (May there be Beauty)  

More on the Navajo sacred mountains by Wilson Aronilth, a medicine man and teacher at Dine’ College:

hhttp://earthmath.kennesaw.edu/main_site/RSI_studies/FoundationoftheSacredMountains.htm

The Massacre For Which Thanksgiving Is Named (Pt.2)

( – promoted by navajo)

and out of that heightened violence came the massacre for which Thanksgiving is named.


Thanksgiving Day Celebrates A Massacre

William B. Newell, a Penobscot Indian and former chairman of the Anthropology department at the University of Connecticut, says that the first official Thanksgiving Day celebrated the massacre of 700 Indian men, women and children during one of their religious ceremonies. “Thanksgiving Day” was first proclaimed by the Governor of the then Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637 to commemorate the massacre of 700 men, women and children who were celebrating their annual Green Corn Dance…Thanksgiving Day to the, “in their own house”, Newell stated.

– small snip –

—–The very next day the governor declared a Thanksgiving Day…..For the next 100 years, every Thanksgiving Day ordained by a Governor was in honor of the bloody victory, thanking God that the battle had been won.”

Without having the book or being able to see it online, the proclamation appears, according to Richard Drinnon, to have come from William Bradford. I’ll be buying the book. “‘Thanksgiving Day'” was first proclaimed by the Governor of the then Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637,” as from Newell, which was John Winthrop.

But “William Bradford became the governor of Plymouth after the first governor died in 1621.”

And in “1631, John Winthrop (1588-1649) became the first elected official in America-governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.”

They were both Puritans, they both probably said it.


Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian Hating & Empire Building

The original Thanksgiving was marked by prayer and thanks for the untimely deaths of most of the Wampanoag Tribe due to smallpox contracted from earlier European visitors. Thus when the Pilgrims arrived they found the fields already cleared and planted, and they called them their own.

– snip –

He was inspired to issue a proclamation: “This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots.” The authentic Thanksgiving Day was born.

The following source cites Drinnon in the next paragraph, so I assume the following came from Drinnon as well.


Source

Jump 129 years to 1621, year of the supposed “first Thanksgiving.” There is not much documentation of that event, but surviving Indians do not trust the myth. Natives were already dying like flies thanks to European-borne diseases. The Pequot tribe reportedly numbered 8,000 when the Pilgrims arrived, but disease had reduced their population to 1,500 by 1637, when the first, officially proclaimed, all-Pilgrim “Thanksgiving” took place. At that feast, the whites of New England celebrated their massacre of the Pequots. “This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots,” read Massachusetts Bay Governor John Winthrop’s proclamation. Few Pequots survived.

The first Official Thanksgiving was gratitude for genocide in 1637, and in 1676 – 1677 “a day was set apart for public thanksgiving,” because nearly all of them were exterminated by then.


http://www.dinsdoc.com/lauber-…

3 See Sylvester, op. cit., ii, p. 457, for expedients adopted by Massachusetts to obtain money to defend the frontiers. Yet the number killed and sold, along with those who escaped, practically destroyed the warring Indians. According to the Massachusetts Records of 1676-1677 a day was set apart for public thanksgiving, because, among other things of moment, “there now scarce remains a name or family of them (the Indians) but are either slain, captivated or fled.”


http://rwor.org/a/firstvol/883…

In their victory, the settlers launched an all-out genocide against the remaining Native people. The Massachusetts government offered 20 shillings bounty for every Indian scalp, and 40 shillings for every prisoner who could be sold into slavery. Soldiers were allowed to enslave any Indian woman or child under 14 they could capture. The “Praying Indians” who had converted to Christianity and fought on the side of the European troops were accused of shooting into the treetops during battles with “hostiles.” They were enslaved or killed. Other “peaceful” Indians of Dartmouth and Dover were invited to negotiate or seek refuge at trading posts – and were sold onto slave ships.

– snip –

After King Philip’s War, there were almost no Indians left free in the northern British colonies. A colonist wrote from Manhattan’s New York colony: “There is now but few Indians upon the island and those few no ways hurtful. It is to be admired how strangely they have decreased by the hand of God, since the English first settled in these parts.” In Massachusetts, the colonists declared a “day of public thanksgiving” in 1676, saying, “there now scarce remains a name or family of them [the Indians] but are either slain, captivated or fled.”


Fifty-five years after the original Thanksgiving Day, the Puritans had destroyed the generous Wampanoag and all other neighboring tribes. The Wampanoag chief King Philip was beheaded. His head was stuck on a pole in Plymouth, where the skull still hung on display 24 years later.

Furthermore, the continuing historical context of the Massacre for which Thanksgiving is named was in the context of “slave-producing wars in New England.”

The war consisted of two battles: the Mistick Fight, and the Swamp Fight. In the first of these two events, but seven captives were taken.1 In the second, the Swamp Fight, about one hundred and eighty captives were taken.2 Two of the sachems taken in the Swamp Fight were spared, on promise that they guide the English to the retreat of Sassacus. The other men captives, some twenty or thirty in number, were put to death.3 The remaining captives, consisting of about eighty women and children, were divided. Some were given to the soldiers, whether gratis or for pay does not appear. Thirty were given to the Narraganset who were allies of the English, forty-eight were sent to Massachusetts and the remainder were assigned to Connecticut.4  


During the years 1675 and 1676, one finds mention of the sale of Indians in Plymouth in groups of about a hundred,2 fifty-seven,3 three,4 one hundred and sixty,5 ten,6 and one.7 From June 25, 1675 to September 23, 1676, the records show the sale by the Plymouth colonial authorities of one hundred and eighty-eight Indians.8

    In the Massachusetts Bay colony a similar disposal of captives was accomplished. On one occasion about two hundred were transported and sold.9 There is extant a paper written by Daniel Gookin in 1676, one item of which is as follows: “a list of the Indian children that came in with John of Packachooge.” The list shows twenty-one boys and eleven girls distributed throughout the colony.10

Hence, the continuing historical context of the Massacre for which Thanksgiving is named: “In Massachusetts, the colonists declared a ‘day of public thanksgiving’ in 1676, saying, “there now scarce remains a name or family of them [the Indians] but are either slain, captivated or fled.”

A cold question arises about whether “the sale of Indians in Plymouth” was at least silently appreciated by the colony. Did they? Were they glad “the Indians” were almost exterminated? They never actually said they were far as I know.


Source

It all began when Philip (called Metacom by his own people), the leader of the Wampanoag Indians, led attacks against English towns in the colony of Plymouth. The war spread quickly, pitting a loose confederation of southeastern Algonquians against a coalition of English colonists. While it raged, colonial armies pursued enemy Indians through the swamps and woods of New England, and Indians attacked English farms and towns from Narragansett Bay to the Connecticut River Valley. Both sides, in fact, had pursued the war seemingly without restraint, killing women and children, torturing captives, and mutilating the dead. The fighting ended after Philip was shot, quartered, and beheaded in August 1676.

How many were glad Saddam Hussein was hung? How many would be glad if all the perpetrators of 9-11 were shot? One last question, how many realize that then and now,  colonialism always brings more violence as “a colonizing European nation was asserting political jurisdiction.”  


Puritans, Indians, and Manifest Destiny. p.75 – 76

…But tribal rivalries and wars were relatively infrequent prior to Puritan settlement (compared to the number of wars in Europe)…Neither would have increased if it were not that a colonizing European nation was asserting political jurisdiction, in the name of God, over indigenous New England societies…When thus threatened with the usurpation of their own rights, as native tribes had been threatened years before by them, Puritans came to the defense of a system of government that was similar, in important ways, to the native governments that they had always defined as savage and uncivilized…

Some have lost careers over stating the obvious: the US brings it upon itself.


Howard Zinn. A People’s History Of The United States. p. 682.

We are not hated because we practice democracy, value freedom, or uphold human rights. We are hated because our government denies these things to people in Third World countries whose resources are coveted by our multinational corporations. That hatred we have sown has come back to haunt us in the form of terrorism.

(Paraphrasing)

“And in secret places in our minds, in places we don’t talk about, we can’t handle the truth.”

That is true now, and it was true then. Genocide and slavery “saved lives,” just the lives the dominant culture wanted to live. And for that, the dominant culture (a mind set) is grateful.


http://www.republicoflakotah.c…

William Bradford, in his famous History of the Plymouth Plantation, celebrated the Pequot massacre:

“Those that scraped the fire were slaine with the sword; some hewed to peeces, others rune throw with their rapiers, so as they were quickly dispatchte, and very few escapted. It was conceived they thus destroyed about 400 at this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fyer, and the streams of blood quenching the same, and horrible was the stincke and sente there of, but the victory seemed a sweete sacrifice, and they gave the prayers thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to inclose their enemise in their hands, and give them so speedy a victory over so proud and insulting an enimie.”

“William Bradford, the author of Of Plymouth Plantation (c. 1630, c. 1646), has been hailed as the father of American history.”– He sure as hell is.

Correction:


The timeline itself along with basic knowledge of the Pilgrim’s Puritan’s religious beliefs exposes the fact that historically speaking, Thanksgiving was literally about gratitude for genocide.

The Massacre For Which Thanksgiving Is Named

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

http://images.google…

“In a little more than one hour, five or six hundred of these barbarians

were dismissed from a world that was burdened with them.”


“It may be demanded…Should not Christians have more mercy and

compassion? But…sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents…. We had sufficient light from the word of God for our proceedings.”


-Puritan divine Cotton Mather, Magnalia Christi Americana



Frank James, a Wampanoag tribal member, would have given a speech in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1970; however, the ones in charge of the Thanksgiving ceremony at Plymouth Rock denied Frank James from ever uttering it. I learned about this in The Thanksgiving Day Massacre…Or, would you like Turkey with your genocide?


The timeline itself along with basic knowledge of the Pilgrim’s religious beliefs exposes the fact that historically speaking, Thanksgiving was literally about gratitude for genocide. Furthermore, the low population counts of the Pequot in more recent years points to how the devastating effects of the English’s, or Separatists’, or Pilgrims’, or Puritans’ crime of genocide almost destroyed the Pequot population. The English, who no doubt formed an American Colony in New England, claimed the land as theirs by the Doctrine of Discovery, which is still in effect today as federal law. To be accurate, the word genocide was not created until 1944 by Raphael Lemkin;nonetheless, the word genocide is appropriate when discussing the near extermination of the Pequot. To be clear, the Doctrine of Discovery legally applied to the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in New England, but not to the Pilgrims in New Plymouth. What was the difference?


No Doctrine of Discovery –


Puritans, Indians, and Manifest Destiny. p. 47.


Thus it became necessary for the Pilgrims to enter into a mutual assistance pact with the Wampanoags. To the pilgrims, this became their “deed of cession,” authorizing them to seize unspecified acreage.


– or, Doctrine of Discovery,



Source


The Doctrine of Discovery provided that by law and divine intention European Christian countries gained power and legal rights over indigenous non-Christian peoples immediately upon their “discovery” by Europeans. Various European monarchs and their legal systems developed this principle to benefit their own countries. The Discovery Doctrine was then adopted into American colonial and state law and into the United States Constitution, and was then adopted by the federal legislative and executive branches, and finally by the U.S. Supreme Court in Johnson v. M’Intosh in 1823. Johnson is still federal law today and the Doctrine of Discovery is still being applied to Indian individuals and the American Indian Nations notwithstanding its Eurocentric, religious, and racial underpinnings.


It was all the same in both of their usages. There was no difference.


Patent Granted by King Henry VII to John Cabot and his Sons


…to find, discover and investigate whatsoever islands, countries, regions or provinces of heathens and infidels, in whatsoever part of the world placed, which before this time were unknown to all Christians…
And that the before-mentioned John and his sons or their heirs and deputies may conquer, occupy and possess whatsoever such towns, castles, cities and islands by them thus discovered that they may be able to conquer, occupy and possess, as our vassals and governors lieutenants and deputies therein, acquiring for us the dominion, title and jurisdiction of the same towns, castles, cities, islands and mainlands so discovered;…


However, Roger Williams tried to “make a difference;” in good conscience he stated:


Puritans, Indians, and Manifest Destiny. p. 48.


“We have not our land by patent from the King, but that the natives are the true owners of it, and that we ought to repent of such receiving it by patent…” For his radical ideas Williams was expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1635.”


Now that all that is stated, let us go to the  specifics of the timeline.


First, the Pilgrims landed in Wampanoag controlled land in 1620.


Norton, Katzman, Escott, Chudacoff, Paterson, Tuttle. “A People & A Nation.” Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 52-53.

The Pokanokets (also called Wampanoags) controlled the area in which the Pilgrims settled, yet their villages had suffered terrible losses in the epidemic of 1616 – 1618. To protect themselves from the powerful Narragansetts of the southern New England coast (who had been spared the ravages of the disease), the Pokanokets decided to ally themselves with the newcomers. In the spring of 1621, their leader, Massasoit,  signed a treaty with the Pilgrims, and during the colony’s first difficult years the Pokanokets supplied the English with essential foodstuffs.

 

Yet, where were they beforehand and why did they set sail?


Norton, Katzman, Escott, Chudacoff, Paterson, Tuttle. “A People & A Nation.” Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 52-53.

Separatists were the first to move to New England. In 1609 a group of Separatists migrated to Holland, where they found the freedom of worship denied them in Stuart England. But they were nevertheless troubled by the Netherlands’ too – tolerant atmosphere; the nation that tolerated them also tolerated religions and behaviors they abhorred. Hoping to isolate themselves and their children from the corrupting influence of worldly temptations, these people, who were to become known as Pilgrims, received permission from a branch of the Virginia Company to colonize the northern part of its territory.


Next, there was just one feast in 1621, not a succession of feasts. Why? There was probably only one feast, because “it became necessary for the Pilgrims to enter into a mutual assistance pact with the Wampanoags,” and these.


Puritans, Indians, and Manifest Destiny. p. 49.


The fact is that to the Puritan, the Native American was the instrument of Satan. For Cotton Mather the Indians were “doleful creatures who were the veriest ruins of Mankind, who were to be everywhere on the face of the earth”; and even Roger Williams, the great friend of the Indians, said they were devil – worshippers.


Top 10 Myths About Thanksgiving By Rick Shenkman


…the Pilgrims never would have invited the Indians to join them. Besides, the Pilgrims would never have tolerated festivities at a true religious event. Indeed, what we think of as Thanksgiving was really a harvest festival. Actual “Thanksgivings” were religious affairs; everybody spent the day praying. Incidentally, these Pilgrim Thanksgivings occurred at different times of the year, not just in November.


Consequently, the European invasion brought a whole new level of violence to the native tribes,


Puritans, Indians, and Manifest Destiny. p.75 – 76


…But tribal rivalries and wars were relatively infrequent prior to Puritan settlement (compared to the number of wars in Europe)…Neither would have increased if it were not that a colonizing European nation was asserting political jurisdiction, in the name of God, over indigenous New England societies…When thus threatened with the usurpation of their own rights, as native tribes had been threatened years before by them, Puritans came to the defense of a system of government that was similar, in important ways, to the native governments that they had always defined as savage and uncivilized… 


and out of that heightened violence came the massacre for which Thanksgiving is named.


Thanksgiving Day Celebrates A Massacre


William B. Newell, a Penobscot Indian and former chairman of the Anthropology department at the University of Connecticut, says that the first official Thanksgiving Day celebrated the massacre of 700 Indian men, women and children during one of their religious ceremonies. “Thanksgiving Day” was first proclaimed by the Governor of the then Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637 to commemorate the massacre of 700 men, women and children who were celebrating their annual Green Corn Dance…Thanksgiving Day to the, “in their own house”, Newell stated.


– small snip –


—–The very next day the governor declared a Thanksgiving Day…..For the next 100 years, every Thanksgiving Day ordained by a Governor was in honor of the bloody victory, thanking God that the battle had been won.”


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Historically revised events of and after 1621: that the feast was of friendly intent and not a political ploy since “it became necessary for the Pilgrims to enter into a mutual assistance pact with the Wampanoags;” that there were successive feasts which involved the Indians; and that ignore the Pequot Massacre, “For the next 100 years, every Thanksgiving Day ordained by a Governor was in honor of the bloody victory, thanking God that the battle had been won..” all hide the truth. Adding to every one of those assertions is Frank James’ suppressed speech that he would have spoken publicly if he had been allowed to do so in 1970.


THE SUPPRESSED SPEECH OF WAMSUTTA (FRANK B.) JAMES, WAMPANOAG To have been delivered at Plymouth, Massachusetts, 1970


…Even before the Pilgrims landed it was common practice for explorers to capture Indians, take them to Europe and sell them as slaves for 220 shillings apiece. The Pilgrims had hardly explored the shores of Cape Cod for four days before they had robbed the graves of my ancestors and stolen their corn and beans.

Mourt’s Relation describes a searching party of sixteen men. Mourt goes on to say that this party took as much of the Indians’ winter provisions as they were able to carry.


Massasoit, the great Sachem of the Wampanoag, knew these facts, yet he and his People welcomed and befriended the settlers of the Plymouth Plantation. Perhaps he did this because his Tribe had been depleted by an epidemic. Or his knowledge of the harsh oncoming winter was the reason for his peaceful acceptance of these acts. This action by Massasoit was perhaps our biggest mistake. We, the Wampanoag, welcomed you, the white man, with open arms, little knowing that it was the beginning of the end; that before 50 years were to pass, the Wampanoag would no longer be a free people.

What happened in those short 50 years? What has happened in the last 300 years? History gives us facts and there were atrocities; there were broken promises – and most of these centered around land ownership. Among ourselves we understood that there were boundaries, but never before had we had to deal with fences and stone walls. But the white man had a need to prove his worth by the amount of land that he owned. Only ten years later, when the Puritans came, they treated the Wampanoag with even less kindness in converting the souls of the so-called “savages.” Although the Puritans were harsh to members of their own society, the Indian was pressed between stone slabs and hanged as quickly as any other “witch…”

Unlearning the Language of Conquest Scholars Expose Anti-Indianism in America. p.  219


As difficult as it may be for non – Indians to realize the corruption of American Institutions, such as universities, or to recognize the hypnotic effect of propaganda and hegemony, it may be far more difficult for them to mitigate the shadow side of their own cultural histories. In this chapter a non – Indian (David Gabbard) scholar stresses how vital it is to do so nonetheless, for until a true realization occurs, the United States of America will likely continue its similar intrusions of colonialism in other parts of the world and on other people. He points out that for this realization to take place, we must recognize First Nations scholarship as a set of practices aimed at helping everyone remember themselves and that efforts to discredit that scholarship and the worldviews that it attempts to recover can keep us in a cycle of genocide that will ultimately consume us.

How I Learned to Savor Thanksgiving

I’ve again been entreated by numerous people to post the Thanksgiving Diary that I’ve put up here the past four years. I’m reposting a slightly edited version of last year’s entry. For those of you who’ve read it before, I apologize.

• • •

I forced myself to watch the History Channel’s Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of the Mayflower last weekend. I don’t feel as if I totally wasted my time. Including performances and interviews of some Wampanoags, descendants of the indigenes who saw the Pilgrims make landfall 388 years ago, made the program a good deal more palatable than it might have been.

I would have preferred a bit more about how one reason the Pilgrims were “persecuted” in England and Holland was because of their efforts to get everyone to comply with their own crabbed view of religion. Something they and the Puritans who followed them also did here in America. Not dissimilar from what some modern day others would like to do now. But what an improvement the program was over past efforts.

For the past few years, my wife – who supervises the largest English as a Second Language program in the United States – and I have had numerous conversations with Los Angelenos of various ethnic and religious backgrounds about the turkey they’ll be eating three days from now. Doesn’t matter if they’re originally from Senegal or Guatemala, Belarus or Vietnam, Scotland or China, it’s the same story with all of them: turkey has to be on the table.

Not that it’ll be a traditional turkey dinner with cranberry sauce and yams and stuffing. Trimmings can range from Libyan tajeen to a cold Vietnamese egg soup whose name I’ve forgotten. And everybody’s bird seems to be done just a little differently. Two years ago, I got to taste Thai turkey, which is definitely not for mild palates.

I don’t buy the “melting pot” theory of American history, nor am I a sappy kind of guy. On the other hand, since I had my Thanksgiving “conversion,” I’ve found something distinctly appealing, yes, even uplifting, about this widespread integration of cultures through the medium of food and family get-together.

I love conversation, I love food and I love celebrations. This year, as last, we’ll be celebrating with friends at the Santa Clara Pueblo home of a college friend. A few years ago, I wouldn’t’ve done this.

Because, when I was a child, we never celebrated Thanksgiving. My grandfather forbade it. A white man’s holiday based on white men’s lies, he said. His take on the holiday was no distortion. But his opposition to commemoration was doubly disappointing for me. I was born on Thanksgiving. Actually, November 28. But, that year, 1946, Thanksgiving fell on the 28th, and ever since, it’s been my designated birthday, whatever the actual date.

While other kids, including other kids with Indian roots, celebrated Thanksgiving with all kinds of food, our house might as well have been shrouded in crepe. Based on what made it to our table, I think he may even have told my grandmother to cook less than usual. Nobody grumbled. My grandfather was an honest, principled man, but quick-tempered, and although he rejected almost every other teaching in the Bible, he believed fully in the bit that sparing the rod would spoil the child. We were not spoiled.

We left the South and my grandfather when I was 9. I had half a dozen guests at my first-ever birthday party – on Thanksgiving Day – when I was 12. I was ecstatic. Thereafter, until my senior year in high school, I celebrated Thanksgiving and my birthday with a party. Cake and turkey. It was then, 45 years ago, that I began reading in earnest about America’s historical treatment of indigenous people, including my ancestors.

That year, November 28 again fell on Thanksgiving. But I didn’t celebrate. No party. And that’s the way it was for the next 29 years, during which I reiterated my grandfather’s warning. He had not been mistaken about the holiday being founded on the fruits of mass murder instead of some friendly, integrated get-together.

The Wampanoags who arrived on what many of us were taught in school was the “first” Thanksgiving, were not invited to the feast with the Plymouth Pilgrims in 1621 after having rescuing them from certain starvation. Massasoit and about 90 of his men just showed up. What followed, we are told, was three days of eating and entertainment, much of which included large quantities of beer. The tension was surely palpable. In the sole firsthand, contemporaneous account we have, nobody called it “thanksgiving.” Not long afterward, in an act of raw treachery that was precursor to a thousand others over the years, Captain Myles Standish, military commander of Plymouth colony – determined to make a pre-emptive strike against a non-existent military threat – strode into a Wampanoag village with his men on the pretext of trading. He left with the severed head of Wituwamat, which he stuck on a wooden spike at Plymouth.

The real first Thanksgiving was declared in 1637 by Massachusetts Bay Colony Governor John Winthrop, he of the famous “city upon a hill” speech. That celebration capped off the Mystic, Connecticut, massacre of 400-700 Pequots, southern neighbors of the Wampanoags, remnants of a tribe already deeply wounded by epidemics of smallpox and measles. Survivors were executed or sold into slavery in the West Indies. Proclaimed Winthrop, “This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots.”

The descendants of Massasoit’s Wampanoags who had sat down in 1621 were treated to their own slaughter during King Philip’s War 54 years later. After decades of being pushed off their old lands, the Wampanoag were led in resistance by “King Philip,” known among his own people as Metacom. When the year of fighting was over, his wife and son were captured and sold into slavery in Bermuda. Metacom was decapitated and his head publicly displayed for more than 20 years. Once again, survivors were executed or sold into slavery, with a bounty of 20 shillings offered for every Indian scalp and 40 shillings for any captive able-bodied enough for enslavement.

On June 20, 1676, the governing council of Charlestown, Massachusetts, proclaimed:

“…It certainly bespeaks our positive Thankfulness, when our Enemies are in any measure disappointed or destroyed; and fearing the Lord should take notice under so many Intimations of his returning mercy, we should be found an Insensible people, as not standing before Him with Thanksgiving, as well as lading him with our Complaints in the time of pressing Afflictions:

The Council has thought meet to appoint and set apart the 29th day of this instant June, as a day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his Goodness and Favour…”

That slaughter of “heathens” and the round-up of survivors which followed allowed more European immigrants to squat on what had once been Indian land. It was a theme that kept being repeated for the next 220 years right across America. My own people – Seminoles, an amalgam of Creeks, Apalachees, runaway slaves and “renegade” whites – eventually fought three wars, and kept a few slivers of their traditional lands, although most were force-marched to “Indian Territory,” where their descendants still live today.

Every year, I ranted about these brutal injustices, about the hypocrisy of Thanksgiving, and the fate of the people who suddenly were in the way. And then, 14 years ago, I let it go. Not that I changed my mind about the atrocities that had occurred or the lies that had been told about them. Far from it. Not that I became enamored with the foolish iconography of Thanksgiving, including elementary school displays of construction paper Pilgrim hats and feathered headbands. Not that I did not and do not fully understand the feelings of those who cannot bring themselves past their rage at this celebration which has been given a full platter of historical up-is-downism.

But I got tired of missing out on the celebration and the food … and I missed having a birthday party. And I realized, finally, that I also had missed the point that this holiday can be a healer, a remembrance of our roots but with our eyes on the present and the future. So, this year, as in the past few, I’ll be together with some of my best friends, white, red and black. As we have for several Thanksgivings, we’ll tell the children (and grandchildren) the true story of Thanksgiving.

And we’ll give thanks that we live in a country where remembering the past need not shackle us to it.  

The Massacre For Which Thanksgiving Is Named

( – promoted by navajo)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

http://images.google…

“In a little more than one hour, five or six hundred of these barbarians

were dismissed from a world that was burdened with them.”


“It may be demanded…Should not Christians have more mercy and

compassion? But…sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents…. We had sufficient light from the word of God for our proceedings.”


-Puritan divine Cotton Mather, Magnalia Christi Americana


(Slightly edited from last year)


Frank James, a Wampanoag tribal member, would have given a speech in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1970; however, the ones in charge of the Thanksgiving ceremony at Plymouth Rock denied Frank James from ever uttering it. I learned about this in The Thanksgiving Day Massacre…Or, would you like Turkey with your genocide?


The timeline itself along with basic knowledge of the Pilgrim’s religious beliefs exposes the fact that historically speaking, Thanksgiving was literally about gratitude for genocide. Furthermore, the low population counts of the Pequot in more recent years points to how the devastating effects of the English’s, or Separatists’, or Pilgrims’, or Puritans’ crime of genocide almost destroyed the Pequot population. The English, who no doubt formed an American Colony in New England, claimed the land as theirs by the Doctrine of Discovery, which is still in effect today as federal law. To be accurate, the word genocide was not created until 1944 by Raphael Lemkin;nonetheless, the word genocide is appropriate when discussing the near extermination of the Pequot. To be clear, the Doctrine of Discovery legally applied to the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in New England, but not to the Pilgrims in New Plymouth. What was the difference?


No Doctrine of Discovery –


Puritans, Indians, and Manifest Destiny. p. 47.


Thus it became necessary for the Pilgrims to enter into a mutual assistance pact with the Wampanoags. To the pilgrims, this became their “deed of cession,” authorizing them to seize unspecified acreage.


– or, Doctrine of Discovery,



Source


The Doctrine of Discovery provided that by law and divine intention European Christian countries gained power and legal rights over indigenous non-Christian peoples immediately upon their “discovery” by Europeans. Various European monarchs and their legal systems developed this principle to benefit their own countries. The Discovery Doctrine was then adopted into American colonial and state law and into the United States Constitution, and was then adopted by the federal legislative and executive branches, and finally by the U.S. Supreme Court in Johnson v. M’Intosh in 1823. Johnson is still federal law today and the Doctrine of Discovery is still being applied to Indian individuals and the American Indian Nations notwithstanding its Eurocentric, religious, and racial underpinnings.


It was all the same in both of their usages. There was no difference.


Patent Granted by King Henry VII to John Cabot and his Sons


…to find, discover and investigate whatsoever islands, countries, regions or provinces of heathens and infidels, in whatsoever part of the world placed, which before this time were unknown to all Christians…
And that the before-mentioned John and his sons or their heirs and deputies may conquer, occupy and possess whatsoever such towns, castles, cities and islands by them thus discovered that they may be able to conquer, occupy and possess, as our vassals and governors lieutenants and deputies therein, acquiring for us the dominion, title and jurisdiction of the same towns, castles, cities, islands and mainlands so discovered;…


However, Roger Williams tried to “make a difference;” in good conscience he stated:


Puritans, Indians, and Manifest Destiny. p. 48.


“We have not our land by patent from the King, but that the natives are the true owners of it, and that we ought to repent of such receiving it by patent…” For his radical ideas Williams was expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1635.”


Now that all that is stated, let us go to the  specifics of the timeline.


First, the Pilgrims landed in Wampanoag controlled land in 1620.


Norton, Katzman, Escott, Chudacoff, Paterson, Tuttle. “A People & A Nation.” Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 52-53.

The Pokanokets (also called Wampanoags) controlled the area in which the Pilgrims settled, yet their villages had suffered terrible losses in the epidemic of 1616 – 1618. To protect themselves from the powerful Narragansetts of the southern New England coast (who had been spared the ravages of the disease), the Pokanokets decided to ally themselves with the newcomers. In the spring of 1621, their leader, Massasoit,  signed a treaty with the Pilgrims, and during the colony’s first difficult years the Pokanokets supplied the English with essential foodstuffs.

 

Yet, where were they beforehand and why did they set sail?


Norton, Katzman, Escott, Chudacoff, Paterson, Tuttle. “A People & A Nation.” Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 52-53.

Separatists were the first to move to New England. In 1609 a group of Separatists migrated to Holland, where they found the freedom of worship denied them in Stuart England. But they were nevertheless troubled by the Netherlands’ too – tolerant atmosphere; the nation that tolerated them also tolerated religions and behaviors they abhorred. Hoping to isolate themselves and their children from the corrupting influence of worldly temptations, these people, who were to become known as Pilgrims, received permission from a branch of the Virginia Company to colonize the northern part of its territory.


Next, there was just one feast in 1621, not a succession of feasts. Why? There was probably only one feast, because “it became necessary for the Pilgrims to enter into a mutual assistance pact with the Wampanoags,” and these.


Puritans, Indians, and Manifest Destiny. p. 49.


The fact is that to the Puritan, the Native American was the instrument of Satan. For Cotton Mather the Indians were “doleful creatures who were the veriest ruins of Mankind, who were to be everywhere on the face of the earth”; and even Roger Williams, the great friend of the Indians, said they were devil – worshippers.


Top 10 Myths About Thanksgiving By Rick Shenkman


…the Pilgrims never would have invited the Indians to join them. Besides, the Pilgrims would never have tolerated festivities at a true religious event. Indeed, what we think of as Thanksgiving was really a harvest festival. Actual “Thanksgivings” were religious affairs; everybody spent the day praying. Incidentally, these Pilgrim Thanksgivings occurred at different times of the year, not just in November.


Consequently, the European invasion brought a whole new level of violence to the native tribes,


Puritans, Indians, and Manifest Destiny. p.75 – 76


…But tribal rivalries and wars were relatively infrequent prior to Puritan settlement (compared to the number of wars in Europe)…Neither would have increased if it were not that a colonizing European nation was asserting political jurisdiction, in the name of God, over indigenous New England societies…When thus threatened with the usurpation of their own rights, as native tribes had been threatened years before by them, Puritans came to the defense of a system of government that was similar, in important ways, to the native governments that they had always defined as savage and uncivilized… 


and out of that heightened violence came the massacre for which Thanksgiving is named.


Thanksgiving Day Celebrates A Massacre


William B. Newell, a Penobscot Indian and former chairman of the Anthropology department at the University of Connecticut, says that the first official Thanksgiving Day celebrated the massacre of 700 Indian men, women and children during one of their religious ceremonies. “Thanksgiving Day” was first proclaimed by the Governor of the then Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637 to commemorate the massacre of 700 men, women and children who were celebrating their annual Green Corn Dance…Thanksgiving Day to the, “in their own house”, Newell stated.


– small snip –


—–The very next day the governor declared a Thanksgiving Day…..For the next 100 years, every Thanksgiving Day ordained by a Governor was in honor of the bloody victory, thanking God that the battle had been won.”


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Historically revised events of and after 1621: that the feast was of friendly intent and not a political ploy since “it became necessary for the Pilgrims to enter into a mutual assistance pact with the Wampanoags;” that there were successive feasts which involved the Indians; and that ignore the Pequot Massacre, “For the next 100 years, every Thanksgiving Day ordained by a Governor was in honor of the bloody victory, thanking God that the battle had been won..” all hide the truth. Adding to every one of those assertions is Frank James’ suppressed speech that he would have spoken publicly if he had been allowed to do so in 1970.


THE SUPPRESSED SPEECH OF WAMSUTTA (FRANK B.) JAMES, WAMPANOAG To have been delivered at Plymouth, Massachusetts, 1970


…Even before the Pilgrims landed it was common practice for explorers to capture Indians, take them to Europe and sell them as slaves for 220 shillings apiece. The Pilgrims had hardly explored the shores of Cape Cod for four days before they had robbed the graves of my ancestors and stolen their corn and beans.

Mourt’s Relation describes a searching party of sixteen men. Mourt goes on to say that this party took as much of the Indians’ winter provisions as they were able to carry.


Massasoit, the great Sachem of the Wampanoag, knew these facts, yet he and his People welcomed and befriended the settlers of the Plymouth Plantation. Perhaps he did this because his Tribe had been depleted by an epidemic. Or his knowledge of the harsh oncoming winter was the reason for his peaceful acceptance of these acts. This action by Massasoit was perhaps our biggest mistake. We, the Wampanoag, welcomed you, the white man, with open arms, little knowing that it was the beginning of the end; that before 50 years were to pass, the Wampanoag would no longer be a free people.

What happened in those short 50 years? What has happened in the last 300 years? History gives us facts and there were atrocities; there were broken promises – and most of these centered around land ownership. Among ourselves we understood that there were boundaries, but never before had we had to deal with fences and stone walls. But the white man had a need to prove his worth by the amount of land that he owned. Only ten years later, when the Puritans came, they treated the Wampanoag with even less kindness in converting the souls of the so-called “savages.” Although the Puritans were harsh to members of their own society, the Indian was pressed between stone slabs and hanged as quickly as any other “witch…”

Unlearning the Language of Conquest Scholars Expose Anti-Indianism in America. p.  219


As difficult as it may be for non – Indians to realize the corruption of American Institutions, such as universities, or to recognize the hypnotic effect of propaganda and hegemony, it may be far more difficult for them to mitigate the shadow side of their own cultural histories. In this chapter a non – Indian (David Gabbard) scholar stresses how vital it is to do so nonetheless, for until a true realization occurs, the United States of America will likely continue its similar intrusions of colonialism in other parts of the world and on other people. He points out that for this realization to take place, we must recognize First Nations scholarship as a set of practices aimed at helping everyone remember themselves and that efforts to discredit that scholarship and the worldviews that it attempts to recover can keep us in a cycle of genocide that will ultimately consume us.

Thanksgiving

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http://images.google…

“In a little more than one hour, five or six hundred of these barbarians

were dismissed from a world that was burdened with them.”


“It may be demanded…Should not Christians have more mercy and

compassion? But…sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents…. We had sufficient light from the word of God for our proceedings.”


-Puritan divine Cotton Mather, Magnalia Christi Americana



Frank James, a Wampanoag tribal member, would have given a speech in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1970; however, the ones in charge of the Thanksgiving ceremony at Plymouth Rock denied Frank James from ever uttering it. I learned about this in The Thanksgiving Day Massacre…Or, would you like Turkey with your genocide?


The timeline itself along with basic knowledge of the Pilgrim’s religious beliefs exposes the fact that historically speaking, Thanksgiving was literally about gratitude for genocide. Furthermore, the low population counts of the Pequot in more recent years points to how the devastating effects of the English’s, or Separatists’, or Pilgrims’, or Puritans’ crime of genocide almost destroyed the Pequot population. The English, who no doubt formed an American Colony in New England, claimed the land as theirs by the Doctrine of Discovery, which is still in effect today as federal law. To be accurate, the word genocide was not created until 1944 by Raphael Lemkin;nonetheless, the word genocide is appropriate when discussing the near extermination of the Pequot. To be clear, the Doctrine of Discovery legally applied to the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in New England, but not to the Pilgrims in New Plymouth. What was the difference?


No Doctrine of Discovery –


Puritans, Indians, and Manifest Destiny. p. 47.


Thus it became necessary for the Pilgrims to enter into a mutual assistance pact with the Wampanoags. To the pilgrims, this became their “deed of cession,” authorizing them to seize unspecified acreage.


– or, Doctrine of Discovery,



Source


The Doctrine of Discovery provided that by law and divine intention European Christian countries gained power and legal rights over indigenous non-Christian peoples immediately upon their “discovery” by Europeans. Various European monarchs and their legal systems developed this principle to benefit their own countries. The Discovery Doctrine was then adopted into American colonial and state law and into the United States Constitution, and was then adopted by the federal legislative and executive branches, and finally by the U.S. Supreme Court in Johnson v. M’Intosh in 1823. Johnson is still federal law today and the Doctrine of Discovery is still being applied to Indian individuals and the American Indian Nations notwithstanding its Eurocentric, religious, and racial underpinnings.


It was all the same in both of their usages. There was no difference.


Patent Granted by King Henry VII to John Cabot and his Sons


…to find, discover and investigate whatsoever islands, countries, regions or provinces of heathens and infidels, in whatsoever part of the world placed, which before this time were unknown to all Christians…
And that the before-mentioned John and his sons or their heirs and deputies may conquer, occupy and possess whatsoever such towns, castles, cities and islands by them thus discovered that they may be able to conquer, occupy and possess, as our vassals and governors lieutenants and deputies therein, acquiring for us the dominion, title and jurisdiction of the same towns, castles, cities, islands and mainlands so discovered;…


However, Roger Williams tried to “make a difference;” in good conscience he stated:


Puritans, Indians, and Manifest Destiny. p. 48.


“We have not our land by patent from the King, but that the natives are the true owners of it, and that we ought to repent of such receiving it by patent…” For his radical ideas Williams was expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1635.”


Now that all that is stated, let us go to the  specifics of the timeline.


First, the Pilgrims landed in Wampanoag controlled land in 1620.


Norton, Katzman, Escott, Chudacoff, Paterson, Tuttle. “A People & A Nation.” Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 52-53.

The Pokanokets (also called Wampanoags) controlled the area in which the Pilgrims settled, yet their villages had suffered terrible losses in the epidemic of 1616 – 1618. To protect themselves from the powerful Narragansetts of the southern New England coast (who had been spared the ravages of the disease), the Pokanokets decided to ally themselves with the newcomers. In the spring of 1621, their leader, Massasoit,  signed a treaty with the Pilgrims, and during the colony’s first difficult years the Pokanokets supplied the English with essential foodstuffs.

  Yet, where were they beforehand and why did they set sail?


Norton, Katzman, Escott, Chudacoff, Paterson, Tuttle. “A People & A Nation.” Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 52-53.

Separatists were the first to move to New England. In 1609 a group of Separatists migrated to Holland, where they found the freedom of worship denied them in Stuart England. But they were nevertheless troubled by the Netherlands’ too – tolerant atmosphere; the nation that tolerated them also tolerated religions and behaviors they abhorred. Hoping to isolate themselves and their children from the corrupting influence of worldly temptations, these people, who were to become known as Pilgrims, received permission from a branch of the Virginia Company to colonize the northern part of its territory.


Next, there was just one feast in 1621, not a succession of feasts. Why? There was probably only one feast, because “it became necessary for the Pilgrims to enter into a mutual assistance pact with the Wampanoags,” and these.


Puritans, Indians, and Manifest Destiny. p. 49.


The fact is that to the Puritan, the Native American was the instrument of Satan. For Cotton Mather the Indians were “doleful creatures who were the veriest ruins of Mankind, who were to be everywhere on the face of the earth”; and even Roger Williams, the great friend of the Indians, said they were devil – worshippers.


Top 10 Myths About Thanksgiving By Rick Shenkman


…the Pilgrims never would have invited the Indians to join them. Besides, the Pilgrims would never have tolerated festivities at a true religious event. Indeed, what we think of as Thanksgiving was really a harvest festival. Actual “Thanksgivings” were religious affairs; everybody spent the day praying. Incidentally, these Pilgrim Thanksgivings occurred at different times of the year, not just in November.


Consequently, the European invasion brought a whole new level of violence to the native tribes,


Puritans, Indians, and Manifest Destiny. p.75 – 76


…But tribal rivalries and wars were relatively infrequent prior to Puritan settlement (compared to the number of wars in Europe)…Neither would have increased if it were not that a colonizing European nation was asserting political jurisdiction, in the name of God, over indigenous New England societies…When thus threatened with the usurpation of their own rights, as native tribes had been threatened years before by them, Puritans came to the defense of a system of government that was similar, in important ways, to the native governments that they had always defined as savage and uncivilized… 


and out of that heightened violence came the massacre for which Thanksgiving is named.


Thanksgiving Day Celebrates A Massacre


William B. Newell, a Penobscot Indian and former chairman of the Anthropology department at the University of Connecticut, says that the first official Thanksgiving Day celebrated the massacre of 700 Indian men, women and children during one of their religious ceremonies. “Thanksgiving Day” was first proclaimed by the Governor of the then Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637 to commemorate the massacre of 700 men, women and children who were celebrating their annual Green Corn Dance…Thanksgiving Day to the, “in their own house”, Newell stated.


– small snip –


—–The very next day the governor declared a Thanksgiving Day…..For the next 100 years, every Thanksgiving Day ordained by a Governor was in honor of the bloody victory, thanking God that the battle had been won.”


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Historically revised events of and after 1621: that the feast was of friendly intent and not a political ploy since “it became necessary for the Pilgrims to enter into a mutual assistance pact with the Wampanoags;” that there were successive feasts which involved the Indians; and that ignore the Pequot Massacre, “For the next 100 years, every Thanksgiving Day ordained by a Governor was in honor of the bloody victory, thanking God that the battle had been won..” all hide the truth. Adding to every one of those assertions is Frank James’ suppressed speech that he would have spoken publicly if he had been allowed to do so in 1970.


THE SUPPRESSED SPEECH OF WAMSUTTA (FRANK B.) JAMES, WAMPANOAG To have been delivered at Plymouth, Massachusetts, 1970


…Even before the Pilgrims landed it was common practice for explorers to capture Indians, take them to Europe and sell them as slaves for 220 shillings apiece. The Pilgrims had hardly explored the shores of Cape Cod for four days before they had robbed the graves of my ancestors and stolen their corn and beans.

Mourt’s Relation describes a searching party of sixteen men. Mourt goes on to say that this party took as much of the Indians’ winter provisions as they were able to carry.


Massasoit, the great Sachem of the Wampanoag, knew these facts, yet he and his People welcomed and befriended the settlers of the Plymouth Plantation. Perhaps he did this because his Tribe had been depleted by an epidemic. Or his knowledge of the harsh oncoming winter was the reason for his peaceful acceptance of these acts. This action by Massasoit was perhaps our biggest mistake. We, the Wampanoag, welcomed you, the white man, with open arms, little knowing that it was the beginning of the end; that before 50 years were to pass, the Wampanoag would no longer be a free people.

What happened in those short 50 years? What has happened in the last 300 years? History gives us facts and there were atrocities; there were broken promises – and most of these centered around land ownership. Among ourselves we understood that there were boundaries, but never before had we had to deal with fences and stone walls. But the white man had a need to prove his worth by the amount of land that he owned. Only ten years later, when the Puritans came, they treated the Wampanoag with even less kindness in converting the souls of the so-called “savages.” Although the Puritans were harsh to members of their own society, the Indian was pressed between stone slabs and hanged as quickly as any other “witch…”


Let me wrap this all up by sharing some words by His Crazy Horse and relaying what the Maine Episcopalians are advocating.


(From a footnote to an interview with David Swallow appearing in Sacred Hoop, Winter 1998/99, 23.)


His Crazy Horse:


I salute the light within your eyes where the whole Universe dwells. For when you are at that center within you and I within mine, we shall be as one.


Episcopalians vote to rescind 1496 charter


BANGOR – Maine Episcopalians passed a resolution at their annual convention Friday that calls for England to rescind a charter issued more than 500 years ago.

The resolution calls for the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Queen of England to disavow the 1496 royal charter issued to John Cabot and his sons, according to information on the Web site for the Episcopal Diocese of Maine. It passed by a vote of 175 to 135.


– snip –


“My objective is universal recognition that the doctrine is repugnant and should not be used to justify the taking of property and other rights from indigenous people,” Dieffenbacker-Krall said Sunday in a phone interview. “The more we build consensus, the closer we are to achieving the goal that universal recognition of the doctrine is wrong to justify actions by nation states.”

  Also read about it here


Here’s a petition to sign to Rescind the Papal Bulls


In my own personal experience, fully owning my past leads me to a more balanced, healthier, and more rewarding relationship with others. My hope is that if this history is owned, if cultural genocide and genocide denial are disempowered; that the lies that fuel U.S. colonialism into foreign nations in modern times might halt.


Unlearning the Language of Conquest Scholars Expose Anti-Indianism in America. p.  219


As difficult as it may be for non – Indians to realize the corruption of American Institutions, such as universities, or to recognize the hypnotic effect of propaganda and hegemony, it may be far more difficult for them to mitigate the shadow side of their own cultural histories. In this chapter a non – Indian (David Gabbard) scholar stresses how vital it is to do so nonetheless, for until a true realization occurs, the United States of America will likely continue its similar intrusions of colonialism in other parts of the world and on other people. He points out that for this realization to take place, we must recognize First Nations scholarship as a set of practices aimed at helping everyone remember themselves and that efforts to discredit that scholarship and the worldviews that it attempts to recover can keep us in a cycle of genocide that will ultimately consume us.

  A lofty dream to be sure; yet, those wonderful human beings of the Christian faith are beginning just that process. They have brought tears of gratitude to my eyes and stirrings in me I cannot express for not having the words.


Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and may what the Maine Episcopalians are trying to do fill you with as much gratitude as it has in me.

How I Learned to Savor Thanksgiving

What follows is a heavily edited version of my last year’s Diary on Thanksgiving.

I forced myself to watch the History Channel’s Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of the Mayflower last weekend. I don’t feel as if I totally wasted my time. Including performances and interviews of some Wampanoags, descendants of the indigenes who saw the Puritans make landfall 387 years ago, made the program a good deal more palatable than it might have been.

I would have preferred a bit more about how one reason the Pilgrims were “persecuted” in England and Holland was because of their efforts to get everyone to comply with their own crabbed view of religion. Something they also did here in America. Not dissimilar from what some modern day others would like to do now. But what an improvement the program was over past efforts.

For the past few years, my wife – who supervises the largest English as a Second Language program in the United States – and I have had numerous conversations with Los Angelenos of various ethnic and religious backgrounds about the turkey they’ll be eating three days from now. Doesn’t matter if they’re originally from Senegal or Guatemala, Belarus or Vietnam, Scotland or China, it’s the same story with all of them: turkey has to be on the table.

Not that it’ll be a traditional turkey dinner with cranberry sauce and yams and stuffing. Trimmings can range from Libyan tajeen to a cold Vietnamese egg soup whose name I’ve forgotten. And everybody’s bird seems to be done just a little differently. Two years ago, I got to taste Thai turkey, which is definitely not for mild palates.

I don’t buy the “melting pot” theory of American history, nor am I a sappy kind of guy. On the other hand, since I had my Thanksgiving “conversion,” I’ve found something distinctly appealing, yes, even uplifting, about this widespread integration of cultures through the medium of food and family get-together.

I love conversation, I love food and I love celebrations. This year, as last, we’ll be celebrating with friends at the Santa Clara Pueblo home of a college friend. A few years ago, I wouldn’t’ve done this.

Because, when I was a child, we never celebrated Thanksgiving. My grandfather forbade it. A white man’s holiday based on white men’s lies, he said. His take on the holiday was no distortion. But his opposition to commemoration was doubly disappointing for me. I was born on Thanksgiving. Actually, November 28. But, that year, 1946, Thanksgiving fell on the 28th, and ever since, it’s been my designated birthday, whatever the actual date.

While other kids, including other kids with Indian roots, celebrated Thanksgiving with all kinds of food, our house might as well have been shrouded in crepe. Based on what made it to our table, I think he may even have told my grandmother to cook less than usual. Nobody grumbled. My grandfather was an honest, principled man, but quick-tempered, and although he rejected almost every other teaching in the Bible, he believed fully in the bit that sparing the rod would spoil the child. We were not spoiled.

We left the South and my grandfather when I was 10. I had half a dozen guests at my first-ever birthday party – on Thanksgiving Day – when I was 12. I was ecstatic. Thereafter, until my senior year in high school, I celebrated Thanksgiving and my birthday with a party. Cake and turkey. It was then, 44 years ago, that I began reading in earnest about America’s historical treatment of indigenous people, including my ancestors.

That year, November 28 again fell on Thanksgiving. But I didn’t celebrate. No party. And that’s the way it was for the next 29 years, during which I reiterated my grandfather’s warning. He had not been mistaken about the holiday being founded on the fruits of mass murder instead of some friendly, integrated get-together.

The Wampanoags who arrived on what many of us were taught in school was the “first” Thanksgiving, were not invited to the feast with the Plymouth Pilgrims in 1621 after having rescuing them from certain starvation. Massasoit and about 90 of his men just showed up. What followed was three days of eating and entertainment, much of which included large quantities of beer. The tension was surely palpable. In the sole firsthand, contemporaneous account we have, nobody called it “thanksgiving.” Not long afterward, in an act of raw treachery that was precursor to a thousand others over the years, Captain Myles Standish, military commander of Plymouth colony – determined to make a pre-emptive strike against a non-existent military threat – strode into a Wampanoag village with his men on the pretext of trading. He left with the severed head of Wituwamat, which he stuck on a wooden spike at Plymouth.

The real first Thanksgiving was declared in 1637 by Massachusetts Bay Colony Governor John Winthrop, he of the famous “city upon a hill” speech. That celebration capped off the Mystic, Connecticut, massacre of 400-700 Pequots, southern neighbors of the Wampanoags, remnants of a tribe already deeply wounded by epidemics of smallpox and measles. Survivors were executed or sold into slavery in the West Indies. Proclaimed Winthrop, “This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots.”

The descendants of Massasoit’s Wampanoags who had sat down in 1621 were treated to their own slaughter during King Philip’s War 54 years later. After decades of being pushed off their old lands, the Wampanoag were led in resistance by “King Philip,” known among his own people as Metacom. When the year of fighting was over, his wife and son were captured and sold into slavery in Bermuda. Metacom was decapitated and his head publicly displayed for more than 20 years. Once again, survivors were executed or sold into slavery, with a bounty of 20 shillings offered for every Indian scalp and 40 shillings for any captive able-bodied enough for enslavement.

On June 20, 1676, the governing council of Charlestown, Massachusetts, proclaimed:

“…It certainly bespeaks our positive Thankfulness, when our Enemies are in any measure disappointed or destroyed; and fearing the Lord should take notice under so many Intimations of his returning mercy, we should be found an Insensible people, as not standing before Him with Thanksgiving, as well as lading him with our Complaints in the time of pressing Afflictions:

The Council has thought meet to appoint and set apart the 29th day of this instant June, as a day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his Goodness and Favour…”

That slaughter of “heathens” and the round-up of survivors which followed allowed more European immigrants to squat on what had once been Indian land. It was a theme that kept being repeated for the next 220 years right across America. My own people – Seminoles, an amalgam of Creeks, Apalachees, runaway slaves and “renegade” whites – eventually fought three wars, and kept a few slivers of their traditional lands, although most were force-marched to “Indian Territory,” where their descendants still live today.

Every year, I ranted about these brutal injustices, about the hypocrisy of Thanksgiving, and the fate of the people who suddenly were in the way. And then, 13 years ago, I let it go. Not that I changed my mind about the atrocities that had occurred or the lies that had been told about them. Not that I become enamored with the foolish iconography of Thanksgiving, including elementary school displays of construction paper Pilgrim hats and feathered headbands. Not that I did not and do not fully understand the feelings of those who cannot bring themselves past their rage at this celebration which has been given a full platter of historical up-is-downism.

But I got tired of missing out on the celebration and the food … and I missed having a birthday party. And I realized, finally, that I also had missed the point that this holiday can be a healer, a remembrance of our roots but with our eyes on the present and the future. So, this year, as in the past few, I’ll be together with some of my best friends, white, red and black. As we have for several Thanksgivings, we’ll tell the children (and grandchildren) the true story of Thanksgiving.

And we’ll give thanks that we live in a country where remembering the past need not shackle us to it.

Happy Thanksgiving! Pass the genocide gravy.

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Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project & My Left Wing

click to enlarge

The early settlers of Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts were particularly grateful to Squanto, the Native American and former British slave who taught them how to both catch eel and grow corn and also served as their native interpreter. Without Squanto’s assistance, the settlers might not have survived in the New World.

The Plymouth settlers (who came to be called “Pilgrims”) set apart a holiday immediately after their first harvest in 1621. They held an autumn celebration of food, feasting, and praising God. The Governor of Plymouth invited Grand Sachem Massasoit and the Wampanoag people to join them in the feast. The settlers fed and entertained the Native Americans for three days, at which point some of the Native Americans went into the forest, killed 5 deer, and gave them to the Governor as a gift.

And we just kept thanking them…

The Indian Removal Act, part of a U.S. government policy known as Indian Removal, was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson on May 28, 1830.

The Removal Act was strongly supported in the South, where states were eager to gain access to lands inhabited by the “Five Civilized Tribes”. In particular, Georgia, the largest state at that time, was involved in a contentious jurisdictional dispute with the Cherokee nation. President Jackson, who supported Indian removal primarily for reasons of national security, hoped removal would resolve the Georgia crisis. While Indian removal was, in theory, supposed to be voluntary, in practice great pressure was put on American Indian leaders to sign removal treaties. Most observers, whether they were in favor of the Indian removal policy or not, realized that the passage of the act meant the inevitable removal of most Indians from the states. Some Native American leaders who had previously resisted removal now began to reconsider their positions, especially after Jackson’s landslide reelection in 1832.

Most white Americans favored the passage of the Indian Removal Act and it passed after bitter debate in Congress.

The treaties enacted under the provisions of the Removal Act paved the way for the reluctant-and often forcible-emigration of tens of thousands of American Indians to the West. The first removal treaty signed after the Removal Act was the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek on September 27, 1830, in which Choctaws in Mississippi ceded land east of the river in exchange for payment and land in the West. The Treaty of New Echota (signed in 1835) resulted in the removal of the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Note 1: Thanks for the invite to post, I deeply appreciate it.

Note 2: My cartoons are always designed to invoke conversation and move people to act. It is not my intent to inflame.

Note 3: Town Called Dobson will be on hiatus until Monday, November 26th.

Native American Heritage and Thanksgiving – A Resources Diary

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(cross-posted from DailyKos)

American Indians, Native people, Native Americans – somehow Thanksgiving is one of the times in the year when I hear the word ‘Indian’ most often (unless casinos or a sports team are in the news). 

Which is no doubt why November is Native American Heritage Month.  Though I can’t say I’ve seen any mainstream (ie, not on a blog) PR for that this year.  Have you?  Maybe it’s just me… 

In any case, would you like to know more about Native American lives now, understand more about the past history, find out where they live, what they’re working for, how they vote in your state?  How easy it is for them to register to vote in your state?

Or have you wondered about the truth behind the myths of Thanksgiving?  If you know about all that, ever wish you had an alternative curriculum for your local school teachers? 

Or would you just like some conversation pieces for the family dinner on Thursday?  Or a fry bread recipe?

Follow me over…

I learned about the American Indian Movement as a child in the 70s.  If you have no clue who they were and are, you could start with the 1972 Trail of Broken Treaties.

My father worked with members of AIM, some of whom came to dinner and invited us to a couple of pow-wows.  At my progressive elementary school our teachers taught us a little about what really happened to the Indians in Minnesota, and invited a Lakhota speaker to visit our class.  She brought one of the 5th graders up to the front and by talking to him warmly and unintelligibly in her language, got him to agree to sell her back the state, with a handshake.

But I think the most visible Indian I knew (other than the possibly ersatz anti-littering one in the ad), was Buffy Sainte-Marie, singer, and still very current activist.  Her songs are powerful, and sadly, as with too many anti-war songs from the Vietnam era, not particularly dated.

Her music was blacklisted by LBJ, but is still very much available, and known around the world.  And the royalties she earns go a lot farther than her personal bank account.

She became a singer after getting her PhD.  She had expected to eventually become a teacher on a reservation, but took a break to try the coffeehouse folksinger circuit.  With the fortune she made from her music career, she founded The Nihewan Foundation for Native American Education, and later, the Cradleboard Teaching Project , both of which are very active now.

I also remember her from Sesame Street (some good pictures).  I recently read this:

During the five years that Buffy Sainte-Marie spent as a semi-regular on “Sesame Street”, it was always her hope to convey in the Native American episodes one message above all: Indians Exist. We are alive and real, and we have fun and friends and families and a whole lot to contribute to the rest of the world through our reality.

But as I grew up, I learned that most people I met had some ideas about American Indians but often little knowledge of Native history in this country, or if they had that, they often knew little to nothing about what is actually happening now, both the good and the bad (beyond casinos of course).  And in recent years, I had fallen completely out of touch myself.  It’s easy to do if you don’t actually know any Indians well, even if you’re interested. You won’t see that news on TV, or even hear it on NPR very often.  They still seem to be a minority among minorities, just under 3 million according to the 2003 census data.

So, I thought I’d write up a quick list of resources for this November and Thanksgiving.  Let me know what glaring gaps you see in the list, I’m looking to know more myself.

To begin with, I found this Thanksgiving curriculum, called Teaching About Thanksgiving on a site full of other good documents and resources called EWebTribe. The curriculum is for children, but I wish everyone would read at least the introduction (by a Native historian and school teacher), and pass it on to any teachers you know. Recipes, a craft, and other ideas for teaching are included.

There is a museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts, called Plimoth Plantation  They publish a beautiful book that corrects the myths of the “Pilgrim” settlers and Thanksgiving, and they also have this Thanksgiving FAQ on their website.  I’m taking my kids there in a few years when they’re both old enough to grasp it all.

To learn more about current events, here’s some places you can start – there’s so much out there, I’m scratching the surface, but I’m hoping there will be additions in the comments!  My time is limited and constantly interrupted…

To begin with, there are 562 federally acknowledged tribal entities, not including Alaska natives (who have their own list of over 300, also available through that link).

Tribal entities have the right to form their own governments, to tax, to enforce criminal and civil laws, to establish membership, license and regulate activities, zone, and exclude persons from tribal territories.  Though those rights have been stepped on with great regularity.  The limitations on their power include the limitations placed on states (no independent foreign relations, currency, wars, etc).

If you haven’t already seen it, visit Native American Netrootsnavajo started that one, a great place to start, and it seems to be the best place to find interested Kossacks, though JammerML suggested not long ago that a RedKos diary series be started on DailyKos – does anyone know if this has been taken up since then? 

Indian Country Today bills itself as The Nations’ Leading American Indian News Source (and yes, that apostrophe placement is intentional). 

Online radio stations include:
AIROS Native Network
and
First Voices Indigenous Radio

Here’s a list of links to Tribal websites – who is closest to you?

The Bureau of Indian Affairs – our tax dollars at work…

A few years ago there was a PBS special that profiled four Lakota families, and life on the Pine Ridge reservation.  It’s titled Homeland and the website is still up with a lot of material from the show, pictures of the families on the reservation, and even a frybread recipe  (with additional instructions for making it into “Indian tacos” – I’ve also had it with powdered sugar, maple syrup, and straight as a side bread).

For the “Electing Democrats” angle – how do Native Americans vote?  Here’s a report from the 2004 election

For more data and demographics, here’s the
American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) Data and Links
website from the Census Bureau.  They’re here all right.  Check out the data for your state.

Offline, here’s a couple of books for you if you don’t know much about Native history in this country:
Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee by Dee Brown is the classic. And once you’ve read that, follow it up with:

Lakota Woman – Mary Crow Dog – a more recent memoir.

What got me going on all of this again was, of course, Norman Bier’s original diary on Pretty Bird Woman House last spring, which got me involved, trying to find ways to support the shelter.  I’ve been delighted to see so many Kossacks stepping up with more and more offers of help, donations, and the publicity.  It sounds like the Amnesty International event on Nov. 15th was a great success and even more is likely to come of that – the shelter may be able to buy that house across from the police station soon!  If you want to help, just go on over to the ChipIn (or send your rich auntie).

But also, take a look at some of what has already been accomplished. Sacred Circle, is a national resource center located on the incredibly poor Pine Ridge reservation is the model and center for the work that is being done to end violence against Native women. 

However there is no doubt at all that they need all the help they can get!

So, this November, do some reading, learn about the issues, find out what you can do, and take some positive action of your own.  Give something back to the Indians. 

And never forget to be thankful for all you have, and all we have in this irreplaceable beautiful land we live in, together. 

Here’s to a better future for all Americans.