08 October 2012

What does Thanksgiving mean to me?

The universe has one hell of a sense of humor. Or something.

It's Canadian Thanksgiving time. Canadian Thanksgiving also occurred at the same time as the Chickasaw Nation's annual tribal gathering. Sunshine is on the Chickasaw tribal roll, so we went.

I learned quite a bit about his people. He bought himself a dictionary so he could learn some of the Chickasaw language. I talked him into a textbook that would teach the language, its grammatical constructs, the verbs, and all that other language-geek shit. He says I have to learn it and teach it to him. I will do this, just as soon as I find where he hid all the books we bought while we were there.

I digress.

It has been a very racially, socially, and politically charged year. America's first half black president is running for re-election. I hope he wins, but that is neither here nor there. My point is that things like race, social justice, and women's rights have been on my mind lately.

Then along comes the tribal gathering and Canadian Thanksgiving and American Columbus Day.

Let me start by saying: that asshole Columbus didn't discover shit. The indigenous peoples already knew this place was here.

What that asshole Columbus and that asshole Amerigo and all those other assholes that came over here to the "new world" did was start a wave of invasion and genocide.

That's right. My obviously descended from white europeans self just accused white europeans of genocide and theft.

White europeans killed the native peoples for whom the North (and South) American lands were their old world.  They killed the natives with their acts of war. They killed the natives with white european diseases against which the native peoples had no defenses.

When white europeans couldn't kill enough of the native peoples to get them to give up their lands peacefully, they just treated them horribly and moved them to some part of the continent that the white europeans didn't want.

This means that the Chickasaw Nation's tribal lands are in Oklahoma these days. That isn't where the Chickasaw Nation originated. Long story short, the Chickasaw lived in the area now known as Alabama and Mississippi when Columbus and the white europeans showed up and appropriated that area as belonging to them.

This shit kind of makes me angry, y'all. This shit is nothing to be proud of. Here we are, in an election year, hearing about how great America is, and how this country was built on this or that and all this horseshit that politicians and zealots love to spout in an election year.

The truth of the matter is that America was built on greed, on theft, on genocide, and all of the horrible shit we rush to fight around the world. What a bunch of hypocrites. Freedom from tyranny, my ass. White europeans terrorized the native peoples of this land.

History gets written by those who win. So we read about how America was built on good Christian values, when in actuality, those good Christians that stole this land weren't acting very fucking Christian at all.

I'm quite sure that this post will win me no fans. I don't care.

I don't care if people don't like it that I think the native peoples on the American continents were treated like shit. I don't care if people don't like it that I think slavery and segregation were just as shameful as the treatment of the native American peoples. I also don't give a shit if people don't like it that I believe in equal treatment for all, regardless of race/ethnicity, religious preference, sexual orientation, gender, ability or lack thereof, or any of the myriad of other things the great American people think is reason to treat somebody else like shit.

So this Columbus Day and Thanksgiving Day, I will be thinking about this shit. I will be thinking about how grateful I am that I do not suffer from the same delusions that brought about the genocide of the native American peoples, slavery, the holocaust, or any of the other shit that white, christian europeans have wrought.

I will also be trying to learn more about how the Chickasaw peoples live, their beliefs, their language. The people I met were a very gracious, generous people who seem to live in harmony with the world around them. That is the kind of American value I would like to live.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you. I was afraid to put this out there, because of all the vitriol in the public discourse.

  2. I freaking love this post. Knock knock, America. It doesn't count as a discovery if there are PEOPLE LIVING THERE.

  3. As someone who can trace part of their ancestry back to the Crow Nation, I wholeheartedly agree with this. I think more and more people are starting to see explorers in this same way and it makes me happy to see.

    1. Are the Crow from the southern states, also?

  4. I can trace my ancestry back to the Crow Nation so I wholeheartedly agree. I think more and more people are beginning to see explorers in this manner and it makes me happy to see it. what they did was cruel...plain and simple.

    1. It was cruel, it was greedy, it was really malignant.

  5. I think it is awesome that y'all are leaning more about his heritage and the Chickasaw language.

    1. I found the language to be musical in the bits I hears at exhibits, and was thrilled that there was a textbook.