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Red Cloud: They made us many promises, but they kept only one. They promised to take our land and they did. ~ Chief of the Oglala Lakota 1822-1909
The premise of Thanksgiving paints a pretty picture of Pilgrims and Indians sitting down to give thanks for a bountiful harvest that would see the pilgrims through the harsh winter in the new world. History tells us that once upon a time it did happen…once…maybe.
After that “First Thanksgiving” 90% of some American Indian communities had been wiped out due to the introduction of European diseases and treachery. Around 1623 Mather, one of the Pilgrim elders gave thanks to his god for destroying the heathen savages to make way “for better growth,” meaning his people.
In 1637, near present day Groton, Connecticut, the Pequot had gather for the green corn festival which is our Thanksgiving. In the early hours of dawn English and Dutch mercenaries ordered the sleeping Indians to come outside. Of the 700 that did they were either shot or clubbed to death and the rest of the men, women and children were burned alive inside the longhouse. The next day the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared “A Day Of Thanksgiving” because 700 unarmed men, women and children had been murdered.
Cheered on by their “victory,” the “brave” colonists and their Indian allies attacked village after village. Women and children over 14 were sold into slavery and it is written that slave ships carrying as many as 500 Indian slaves regularly left the ports of New England. Bounties were paid for Indian scalps to encouraged as many deaths as possible.
After a raid against the Pequot in what is now Stamford, Connecticut, the churches announced a second day of “Thanksgiving” to celebrate victory over the heathen savages. During the feasting, hacked off heads of Indians were kicked down the streets like soccer balls. Even the friendly Wampanoag did not escape the madness. Their chief was beheaded, and his head impaled on a pole in Plymouth, Massachusetts – where it remained on display for 24 years.
George Washington instructed Major General John Sullivan in 1779 to attack the Iroquois. Washington said “lay waste all the settlements around…that the country may not be merely overrun, but destroyed”. In the course of the carnage and annihilation of Indian people, Washington also instructed his general not to “listen to any overture of peace before the total ruin of their settlements is effected”.
In 1783, Washington’s anti-Indian sentiments were apparent in his comparisons of Indians with wolves: “Both being beast of prey, tho’ they differ in shape”, he said. George Washington’s policies of extermination were realized in his troops behaviors following a defeat. Troops would skin the bodies of Iroquois “from the hips downward to make boot tops or leggings”. Indians who survived the attacks later re-named the nation’s first president as “Town Destroyer”. Approximately 28 of 30 Seneca towns had been destroyed within a five-year period.
It was 1807 when Thomas Jefferson instructed his War Department that, should any Indians resist against America stealing Indian lands, the Indian resistance must be met with “the hatchet”. Jefferson continued, “And…if ever we are constrained to lift the hatchet against any tribe, ” he wrote, “we will never lay it down till that tribe is exterminated, or is driven beyond the Mississippi.” Jefferson, the slave owner, continued, “in war, they will kill some of us; we shall destroy all of them”.
The year was 1812 and Jefferson said that American was obliged to push the backward Indians “with the beasts of the forests into the Stony Mountains”. One year later Jefferson continued anti-Indian statements by adding that America must “pursue [the Indians] to extermination, or drive them to new seats beyond our reach”.
In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln ordered the execution, by hanging, of 38 Dakota Sioux prisoners in Mankato, Minnesota. Most of those executed were holy men or political leaders of their camps. None of them were responsible for committing the crimes they were accused of. Coined as the Largest Mass Execution in U.S. History.
During the civil war President Abraham Lincoln decreed Thanksgiving to be a national holiday–on the same day he ordered troops to march against the starving Sioux in Minnesota.
Theodore Roosevelt, alleged American hero and Nobel peace prize recipient and Indian fighter firmly grasped the notion of Manifest Destiny saying that America’s extermination of the Indians and thefts of their lands “was ultimately beneficial as it was inevitable”. Roosevelt once said, “I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of ten are, and I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth”.
The four Presidents named above are the faces of Mount Rushmore. All four valued white supremacy and the extermination of the American Indian. They, the United States “Founding Fathers” advocated “genocide” against the Indian people of this hemisphere. And they called us savages because we defended what was ours to begin with.
Betcha won’t find the above taught in any grade school, high school or college/university text books here in the good ole U S of A. Don’t even get me started on the “Trail of Tears” or “Wounded Knee.”
I do not celebrate Thanksgiving in the traditional sense that most do here in the United States. We do have a huge meal, complete with all the fixings that most have on this day, but, we add a few traditional dishes of our own. It’s more a day of mourning, a remembrance of our ancestors and what they and we have endured to survive. And we have survived. That is what I am thankful for and celebrate each and every day.
One more, maybe two thoughts I give you. It is ironic that Thanksgiving and elections take place during American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month. An even greater irony is that more Americans today identify the day after Thanksgiving as Black Friday than as National American Indian Heritage Day. Poetic don’t you think?
I’ve included several youtube links and a link to a map of North America showing the many varied peoples before the “white man” set foot upon this land if you are interested in learning more about the native people of North America. Sadly, many of these nations no longer exist.
Remember, it takes just as much energy to be kind as it does to be otherwise. These United States of America sure could use some serious uplifting. Heck, the whole world could use some serious uplifting. Choose to be kind. TWMA♥
I would like to thank:
Maitreya : Mesh Body ‘Lara’, Poise Dress ‘Milk’, Dahlia Socks Flat ‘Milk’
Amara Beauty/Zoul Creations : Gabriela Skintone’06 Caramel’, Eyebrow Set ’05 Black’, Kristy Eyeshadow ‘Smokey 01’
LeLutka : VIBRATO ‘IronHotcake’
Lightstar : Indian Headband
Arwen’s Creations : Nakooma Hair Feather
EarthStones : Soar Set ‘Peaceful Spirit’, Simply Yours Bridal Set’Platinum’, Celtic Claddagh Ring, Fly With Me Friendship Ring, Double Infinity Ring
Izzie’s : Eternity Bracelet ‘Rose Brown’
Yummy : Dianity Tiara Ring, Single Butterfly Ring ‘White’
J’s : Western Boots ‘Red Brown’
oOo Studio : Innocent ‘two’
LumiPro : LumiPro 2016 HUD
Soonsiki : Dreamcatcher wall decor (Unable to find in world or on Marketplace)
Heart Garden Center : WILDWOOD Giant Oak Forest Season Changing, Autumn Daisies from WILDWOOD Giant Pine Forest, Ancient Maple Season Changing, Oak Wild Tall Season Changing, WILDWOOD Alder Trees Season Changing