Thursday, November 23

Thanksgiving, 2006

Events of Autumn, 1621, in Plymouth, Massachusetts


Edward Winslow, Mourt's Relation:

"our harvest being gotten in, our governour sent foure men on fowling, that so we might after a speciall manner rejoyce together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labours ; they foure in one day killed as much fowle, as with a little helpe beside, served the Company almost a weeke, at which time amongst other Recreations, we exercised our Armes, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoyt, with some ninetie men, whom for three dayes we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five Deere, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed on our Governour,and upon the Captaine and others. And although it be not always so plentifull, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so farre from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plentie." (2)


There is a state park I look forward to visiting every year when I go home for the summer; It's called "Custer State Park." In it, you will see endless fields of mustard flowers caressed by the prairie winds; Bison crossing springs and smoothly paved roads with a running spine of bright yellow double lines cut through the plains. This is a place. And this place embodies the meaning of "ironic juxtaposition."

More than 200 years later, on December 29th, 1890, it is believed that up to 300 members of the Lakota Sioux were massacred at Pine Ridge (Reservation), South Dakota. This was noted as the "Battle at Wounded Knee," but was corrected: "The Wounded Knee Massacre."

In October of 1972, here, in Minneapolis, the American Indian Movement (AIM) drew a 20-point proposal, Trail of Broken Treaties, which outlined the mission of 800 people who drove in caravans from reported 25 states and marched to Washington, D.C. Misunderstanding multiplied with abuse of law-enforcement authority yielded yet another standoff, this time inside the Bureau of Indian Affairs building. This was 34 years ago, to the month. (4) I think you would be interested to know that at the bottom of the e-doc I found of "Twenty-Points," it said, "declassified FBI/CIA/Justic Dept/White House docs on AIM." Suddenly I felt dumb for having been taken by surprise.

Above is my very [very] brief summary of what relationship a holiday is said to honor. Perhaps you would agree, Dear Reader; Thanksgiving Day, indeed, has merely become the day before Black Friday--the biggest day in American Consumerism.

At Marjorie Veeh Elementary School in Tustin, California, we spent the three-day week leading up to Thanksgiving Break writing lists of what we were thankful for to share with the class. In keeping with tradition:

"I Am Thankful For"

I am thankful for not being stuck in a third-world country whose people are being economically exploited through stipulations of foreign aid packages.

I am thankful that I can sit in front of a television and feel frustrated by biases in the media instead of being frustrated by cheap matches that refuse to take flame while I sit next to a kerosene lamp on a sidewalk to keep myself warm this winter.

I am thankful for having a low-paying student job at the Forestry Library instead of any job in some Free Trade Zone that would so wonderfully demonstrate the benefits of globalization.

I am thankful for having to clean up piles of clothing on the floor of my closet instead of having to also clean up piles of clothing on the floors of closets in the homes of people whose wealth, consumerism and materialism requires employing minority workers for maintenance.

I am thankful for being able to complain about the drunk frat kids' nightly parties across the street from my building instead of having to worry about self-identification documents to present to armed occupation soldiers at checkposts to cross the streets of a place I once knew as my neighborhood.

The End.

1)The First Thanksgiving, painting by Jean Louis Gerome Ferris (public domain, as copyright has expired)
3) Photo Credit: Pub. by A. G. Johnson, York Neb. January, 1891. Western History/Genealogy Department, Denver Public Library,

1 comment:

liya said...

wow, samira...

u really are good at makin one think. good job. :)