This Thanksgiving, Try Accountability With Your Turkey

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About Jamie Utt

Jamie Utt is a diversity and inclusion consultant and sexual violence prevention educator based in Minneapolis, MN. He lives with his loving partner and his funtastic dog, Chloe. He blogs weekly at Change From Within. Learn more about his work at JamieUtt.com.

Comments

  1. It was the pits-
    Now let’s get over it.
    The indigenous people of the Western Hemisphere were transient- pushing each other hither and fro, probably committing genocide on earlier peoples, forever altering the landscape and hunting species into extinction.
    So should I move back to Europe and start pushing someone East?

    • I generally have a “Don’t read the comment” policy with the Good Men Project, but I made the mistake of reading the two that are here now, so I’ve just gotta say:

      Thank you for reducing the vast and incredible diversity of the Indigenous populations of North America into this one, pathetic, and incredibly ill-informed sentence.

  2. I’m one of the minority of Americans left today who are actually descendants of Puritans. I have ancestors who settled in New England in 1640, just 20 years after the pilgrims. But I’m no blue blood. I also have ancestors who came to Virginia as indentured servants, others who were refugees from the war-torn Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany, and Scotch-Irish who came to escape poverty and oppression by the British in Northern Ireland (where the British had previously sent their ancestors to help subdue the Irish)

    I too struggle with the knowledge of the negative deeds of Europeans who settled in America. On the other hand, most of my ancestors were poor people struggling to find a better life for themselves and their families, trying to escape the grinding poverty and religious and political oppression and unending warfare in Europe. They were no different than the Mexican and Central American people who come to the United States illegally today.

    The history of humanity is a history of struggle for territory and resources. This is true on every continent, in every time. Should the Europeans have stayed home? Yes, perhaps, in a greater moral sense, but that’s not human nature. My Anglo-Saxon ancestors shouldn’t have invaded England and taken land away from my Celtic ancestors. The Celts shouldn’t have taken land away from whoever was there before. The Romans shouldn’t have massacred the Gauls in France. The Germanic barbarians shouldn’t have overrun the Roman empire. The Moors shouldn’t have invaded Spain and the Catholics shouldn’t have taken it back 700 years later. I mean, when do you stop feeling guilty about the crimes of the past?

    • To me, the questions are not ones of “when do you stop feeling guilty about the crimes of the past?” and instead are, “What do we do in the present to realize justice for the crimes of the past?” That is why each of the numbered points above relate to what we can do now, today to take steps toward justice. Can we change the fact that Europeans came to this continent committed genocide? No, but what we can do is work to realize a present that is characterized by justice.

      Waziyatawin offers some powerful suggestions for how we can start. I recommend picking up her book, linked above.

  3. Richard Aubrey says:

    I don’t see “justice” as a do-over, considering everything that’s changed.
    Why is this, among all the folk wanderings mentioned by Sarah and others, the only one to be fixed?
    BTW, not genocide. Disease. See Mann, “1491″
    And how much Indian blood is necessary to qualify for the “justice”? I believe one quarter will get you free tuition in some state colleges.
    There were fewer Wampanoags before they got the casino going. Now there are a lot. See a problem there?
    Why does an accident of genetics qualify one for some special treatment, which usually means taking something from somebody else whose genetic accidents were different abd who had equally nothing to do with anything back then?
    How about dumping group identity and considering people as individuals? I know. That’s crazy talk.

  4. So why is humanity a bunch of assholes? Why is all recorded history full of bloodshed, rapes, the sacking of cities, genocide? Why is humanity so awful?

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