We indigenous around the world offer food as gifts.
This was thanks and giving. This tells all of creation we know what hunger feels like, and no one should ever be hungry. This gesture also asks creation to send more abundance because we are a sharing people whose happiness comes from giving and sharing. We believed this all year around, every day, not just one.
We believed the half-starved should always share with the starving. We dedicated our two front rows of fields and gardens to travelers, those known and unknown. But now, Thanksgiving has everyone pretending it’s a joyous celebration: Happy Thanksgiving statements, having to shut our mouths and pretend we’re having a wonderful time, pretending there is no genocide, just happiness. Puritans singing and dancing with friendly Indians. Friends for all time!
No, we are not allowed to voice how babies were slammed against boulders, or how children were used as bait to train attack dogs, or how our lands were stolen then destroyed. The same with our waters. Or, how we were forced to trade in free foods and medicines for a lifetime of struggling debt. We’re not supposed to think about the people enslaved by education and religion to make us into the image of our enslavers. Or, how we lost our hair, were brutally punished for speaking our language, were jailed for dancing and singing our ancestors’ songs, for praying to creation and being called a sinner because creation wasn’t GOD. Mocked. Spit on. Laughed at. Corrected, corrected, and corrected again and again, again and again, because science has proven we are in fact Chinese, who stole this land and died away leaving this land as a gift to be abused. Forced to salute the flag whose military hunted us for sport and profit and good times.
This is truly a day of miracles, kindness and sharing, friendship and feasting.
But, before we get lost in all this holiday cheer, let me remind us: Thanksgiving was a celebration for every time a section of land was conquered and the tribes eradicated. this happened so often, Thanksgiving (by name) was celebrated sometimes 2 or 3 times a week. Thanksgiving is a time where we must sit with the oppression, smiling with forgiveness in “OUR” hearts, forgetting history because “that’s all in the past.”
Forgiveness and forgetting! Take the elbows off the table, chew with mouths closed, and pass the potatoes. Take this one day, and one day only, and “remember to forget” we are supposed to be thankful every day. Stop the fighting this day, eat, so you can fight the oppressors’ patriotic wars tomorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow.
Pause for today, be thankful for all that’s been (gifted?)
Take this day and really remember to forget.
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