It’s one of those days again. Holidays. Days that are celebrated in this culture which I do not celebrate. Thanksgiving is the day we brainwash children into believing some BS about Pilgrims (the wrong name for the group to which it refers, used only recently) and Indians (again, a term incorrectly applied. The “discoverers” of the “New World” at first thought they had found a new route to India). The true story isn’t so flattering to “our” ancestors. I put “our” in quotes because, frankly, who the hell do I mean by “our”? Who is the “we”? I had no ancestors in this country before 1900. Many Americans didn’t.
The descendants of the people we reference in these “history” stories are the blue blood WASPs you usually find running things in the GOP and elsewhere. According to TheFreeDicionary.com, a WASP is a “white person of Protestant English or other Northern European ancestry, especially one belonging to the American upper class. [W(hite) A(nglo-)S(axon) P(rotestant).]” The term is often, but not always, used in a derogatory way. George Bush (W. and H. W.) had ancestors on the Mayflower.
The passengers on the Mayflower, those we incorrectly refer to as Pilgrims, were a small community of religious fanatics who referred to themselves as “Saints” and believed they were chosen by God. Unable to get along with normal people, they fled to the “New World” (new to Europeans), where they “appropriated” some land. One of the secular passengers, called “Strangers” by the “Saints”, had been washed overboard and drowned during the rough, stormy passage, and one of the “Saints” later wrote that he deserved it, that God killed him for being “a proud and very profane yonge man.” (http://www.history.com/topics/mayflower) Sound familiar?
Many of these arrogant land-grabbers died during the passage and the first couple of years in their new home. Indeed, if it hadn’t been for the indigenous people teaching them how to survive, they would have all perished. And how do you think the native people were paid back for their generosity? The descendants of the WASPs are still screwing the descendants of the natives today! (Keystone, for one recent example.)
Ah, but I digress. After reaping their first successful harvest, the Saints threw a three-day party to celebrate and give thanks for their survival. This is the Thanksgiving celebrated in the USA today. I doubt if Native Americans celebrate it. I don’t. I’ll go to see my mom in the nursing home today, armed with pumpkin pie and coffee. We’ll talk about how many of her friends and family are dead. How someone keeps stealing her phone. It is always returned just before I visit. How the food there stinks. How she wishes she could go home, but she has no home to go to. I sold it. It’s not like Medicaid rules demanded that. She tries to figure out how long she has left. Every day, the dementia gets a little worse.
I try to be thankful every day – thankful for the few people I have in my life who get me through each day. I’m thankful for the shelter and sustenance I enjoy, and for the relatively luxurious life I live. A far cry from the times I was homeless or imprisoned. So… to those of you who celebrate this day, I wish you a joyful day filled with love, family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving! For those, like myself, who hold this day in a different regard, let’s take some time to appreciate the true meaning of this day – the devastation and genocide of the indigenous peoples of the North and South American continents perpetrated by the Europeans who invaded their land, whose descendants are still persecuted today. There is no way we can right the great historical wrong but can we, at least, stop harming them still? Happy Wrongdoing!