Posted by Elaine on November 17, 2000 at 14:23:03:
In Reply to: Re: thanksgiving for the native americans posted by Danalee Lavelle on November 17, 2000 at 13:46:37:
: Interesting question, and one I will take as coming from a place in the heart of genuine interest. I am very involved in Native issues and culture. Since finding out my birth father was Native American several years ago I began going to pow-wows and cultural celebrations here on the west coast. My partner is full blood enrolled Southern Ute from Colorado. My life now, as opposed to even a year ago is as immersed in Native American culture can be for one who was not brought up living as a Native American, so I make that disclaimer right up front because there are Native Americans who would still label me a 'wannabe' and take offense at what I am imparting here.
: Native Americans are Americans like you and me. They put on their pants the same way, etc. A very few feel very strongly about the topic of Thanksgiving. If you were talking to AIM activist Russell Means, who played Ching in LOTM he would tell you Thanksgiving is a national day of mourning for him. This is an extreme viewpoint and not the average. Most of my Native friends and acquaintances will celebrate Thanksgiving just like the rest of America.
: But I do offer the following, taken from a bulletin board I frequent that has a section on 'Native Issues'. Far more inflammatory, perhaps, is our celebration of Halloween where people frequently dress up as Indians. This is extremely offensive to them. This year I walked into my own bank on Halloween to find the teller dressed up like a Pochantas wanna-be. I saw their point...
: So, here we go...
: The year was 1637......700 men, women and children of the Pequot Tribe, gathered for their "Annual Green Corn Dance" in the area that is now known as Groton, Conneticut.
: While they were gathered in this place of meeting, they were surrounded and attacked by mercenaries of the English and Dutch.
: The natives were ordered from the building and as they came forth, they were shot down. The rest were burned alive in the building.
: The next day, the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared : "A day of Thanksgiving, thanking God that they had eliminated over 700 men, women and children." For the next 100 years, every "Thanksgiving Day" ordained by a Governor or President was to honor that day of victory, thanking God that the battle had been won.
: Source : Documents of Holland, 13 Volume Colonial Documentary History, letters and reports from colonial officials to their superiors and the King of England and the private papers of Sir William Johnson, British Indian agent for the New York colony for 30 years.
: Researched by William B. Newell (Penobscot Tribe) Former Chairman of the University of Connecticut Anthropology Department.
: KIND OF MAKES YOU THINK TWICE ABOUT CELEBRATING THE HOLIDAY, HUH.
: I DON'T THINK I WANT TO CELEBRATE THANKSGIVING AFTER READING THIS.......WHAT DO YOU THINK??
: The year is 2000.
: Most have become more aware culturally and politically of issues around us. And then there's the others....
: Parents - when are you going to realize that dressing your child like an Indian for Halloween is soooooo disrespectful? You're sending the message that Indians are not real, like other witches, ghouls and goblins.
: In protest, I've gone out today and bought two blond wigs. I will dress as a white person today and give the other wig to another Indian person.
: Do you think I will offend anyone??
"Native Americans are Americans like you and me. They put on their pants the same way,
etc. A very few feel very strongly about the topic of Thanksgiving. If you were talking to
AIM activist Russell Means, who played Ching in LOTM he would tell you Thanksgiving
is a national day of mourning for him. This is an extreme viewpoint and not the average.
Most of my Native friends and acquaintances will celebrate Thanksgiving just like the rest of
Yep .... too bad such an obvious point must be stated.
Regarding the post you quoted; though increasingly cited, the Groton Massacre was not the origin of our national Thanksgiving celebration, nor did the next hundred years see such a celebration in New England. In fact, following the original Pilgrim/Wampanoag feast (celebrating that these English settlers still lived at all & thanking God for the plentiful harvest), there were NO such recognized celebrations during the next century. This holiday was not made such until Lincoln's term, & it was modeled after the New Plymouth Colony's feast. Russell Means is WRONG about this.
The Pequot massacre did occur but had nothing to do with the Thanksgiving feast we celebrate.
The year was 1621 ... Chief Massasoit & 90 of his men accepted invitation & attended the feast, contributing a generous supply of venison to the bounty from harvest prepared by the Puritan women.
"...the Indians were very faithful in their covenant of peace with us, very loving and ready to pleasure us."
The early years at New Plymouth were actually very cordial. The picture of harmony that is often depicted is not inaccurate. However, within a generation things had changed.
In Connecticut, the Pequots had already subdued the Indians in the valleys of the Long River, many of whom welcomed English settlements as a means to rid themselves of Pequot control. In 1637, war came to Connecticut ... and this begins a Six Degrees to LOTM -
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