Thursday, November 24, 2011

Recommended Reading on Thanksgiving

Full disclosure: yes, my family gets together on this holiday and does the turkey dinner, and we thank Spirit for what we have been given that year and wish blessings on our own and the world in the coming days.  This has never been about the Pilgrims or in ignorance of the genocide that has built this country, but it does mimic the traditions passed down in the historical mythology of this settler colonial nation, and while I love this day for seeing family I don't get to see often and eating good food with them I am increasingly ambivalent about the holiday, even in the form we "celebrate" it.  At the very least I think that while we are giving thanks, it is a good time to also meditate on the things in our nation and communities that need to change, the destructive and violent cycles that need to end and that (in the national mythology) we trace to this event of The First Thanksgiving.

In that spirit I share this piece, please click the link to read the full essay: Original Occupation: Native Blood & the Myth of Thanksgiving
Intro to that first occupation
We are talking widely among ourselves about “occupying” Wall Street — taking the center of an empire back for the people of the world. We are talking about “Occupy Everything” — sharing our dreams of taking all society away from banks, police, and the heartless authority of money. We hope this moment marks a beginning of the end for them.
And yet, just such a moment cannot be understood without remembering that other occupation — the one that marked the beginning of their beginning.
Arrogant invaders occupied a land using the most naked forms of genocide. They invented new forms of slavery, slave trade and profit making. They arrived with their high-tech arms and bibles. They declared all was theirs by divine right, while they took it all with raw force.
Put another way:  That first occupation was a sweeping nightmare that starts with Columbus. It has continued for 500 years. For the Native peoples of today (and therefore for us too) it remains an ongoing story of domination and removal. The nation-state who today labels millions of indigenous descendants “illegal aliens” arrived in boats with only royal decrees and their holy book as documents of legitimacy.
Every schoolchild in the U.S. has been taught that the Pilgrims of the Plymouth Colony invited the local Indians to a major harvest feast after surviving their first bitter year in New England.
Here is the true story of that Thanksgiving  — a story of murder and theft, of the first “corporations” invented on North American soil, of religious fundamentalism and relentless mania for money. It is a story of the birth of capitalism.
This piece is intended to be shared at this holiday time.
Pass it on. Serve a little truth with the usual stuffing.