GIVING THANKS … To Whom? For What?
Yes, those are the questions that, unlike the Macy day parade animals that bring delight to children everywhere, float around unheard and unwanted.
Our pilgrim forefathers realized they were lucky to be alive. They had gotten through winter without starving because of help from their misnamed friends whom they called “Indians.” (Remember, they thought they had gotten to India.) In those early years, a concerted effort would have pushed them off the continent, so thanks were in order though perhaps misdirected. They could not have made it without their new buddies but, as is common, god gets the credit. Hallelujah!
Surely, we have much to give thanks for; we live on this great continent if not quite lords of all we survey it is still true that we can destroy civilizations should the mood strike us. We have done it in the past, look what happened to their buddies so it would not be a new enterprise for us. Japan might not exist now if the emperor had decided to continue the war. Curtis LeMay, the bomber general wanted to wipe them out; it’s a theme that is part of our history. Still, we are here and aside from hidden fantasies, we aren’t giving it back
I suppose slaughtering the bison is part of that as well as slaughtering turkeys. Note: Otherwise, we have no use for turkeys and, to our shame, “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.” Snicker snicker, cackle cackle.
Well, I suppose given Native American culture, and European culture, the outcome was inevitable. No one in Europe would let all that free land go to waste. To paraphrase one of our civil war generals, “It would be a shame to leave all that land to nomads.”
Okay, some of you are thinking, granted we did all that nasty stuff we are finally living up to our treaties with them and we have something magnificent for ourselves. Well, yeah, but we treat it like dirt. Strip mining rips the earth and leaves scars; we make the planet hotter so that storms are far worse and more frequent than in the past; we are emptying the Oglalla Aquifer such that the middle of our country may again turn into desert; that great human invention, science, is denigrated and disregarded in favor of opinion, and people look to the heavens for that bearded supernatural being to lavish us with affection.
Actions speak louder than words and our actions inform us that giving thanks is not sufficient. Let’s not give thanks but try to fix the place before it becomes uninhabitable. And, in addition to turkey, we might also choose to eat humble pie.