As I have celebrated like most of you over this weekend (food, family, friends, tryptophan coma, sports, Macy’s parade) I cannot help but be heartbroken. I enjoy the spirit of Thankfulness and the time we spend to reflect on our year and the positive things that have come from it. I enjoy family and friends and laughter. But shall we step backwards a few hundred years.
White Europeans embarked on a government funded exploration and landed here, where they encountered the natives…savages…Indians…
After some altercations (to put it mildly) these natives embrace these undocumented illegal aliens and teach them how to live and survive in this strange land. They taught them hunting and fishing techniques, farming, weather, and a myriad of survival lessons. Then, as historically told, Pilgrims and Natives came together for a feast to celebrate the harvest. To shorten a very long story, this is how we have this day, Thanksgiving.
Now, we’ll skip the non-Christian tradition this was steeped in and how other traditions and cultures have similar practices. Our focus is on the fact that these Native Americans, as we call them today, opened their arms to embrace the other. And we know from our history lessons, even if we choose to ignore it, that it did not take long for these European white men to take over, push out, and even initiate the genocide of Native Americans in order to expand territory and continue to import more white Europeans. This land was “flowing with milk and honey” and they would stop at nothing to take the land they believed was theirs for the taking. Like it was a God-given right to oppress another people for the gain of your own. Relationships and treaties were broken by the greed of the white man. Native Americans were pushed further and into smaller areas. Eventually, the land that was theirs, had been reduced to reservations for them to live within. Treaties once again made, boundary lines made by the white man. And the narrative we are taught in school is that everyone is ok now. They have their sovereign nations, we have our limits.
But as we see going on right now, these Native Americans are being screwed once again in North Dakota by greedy white men. If you haven’t heard, the Dakota Access Pipeline is being built to carry crude oil from North Dakota oil fields to an Illinois shipping site. The original path of a $3.7 billion oil pipeline was set to pass through a predominately white “American” area. After considering the dangers of the pipeline leaking into the water supply, the path was pushed further south where it would pass under The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s only water supply AND cause irreparable damage to sacred Sioux burial grounds and other sites. Peaceful protests have been reduced to militaristic oppressive violence and the courts have merely glossed over the claims made by our Native brothers and sisters. Please. Take the time to research this from legitimate sources such at the NY Times, LA Times, Time Magazine, CNN, and CBS. Hear the Native American stories at the Standing Rock website. Then, join in protest with our brothers and sisters. Find out how to help HERE
After 300 years, have we not given any more dignity to the people who lived and thrived off of this land long before it was “discovered”. #NoDAPL