Today is a holiday for some. Not for me, not for most Natives, we don’t care to celebrate genocide. Today, we’re on the way back to the Oceti Sakowin camp (this post was set up last night, we have to do that whole crack o’ dawn thing), and we’ll be back when we’re back. I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to take the computer and all that crap with me. If you see posts in the next couple of days, then I did. If not, I didn’t. Marcus has most generously offered to be our back up if we are arrested, so don’t worry about that. If we are, we’ll make it back out eventually. We’ll have the van, because we’ll be hauling building wood and fire wood once more, and the need for firewood is severe. More, more, and more is needed, as it gets colder, and all the kitchens need it to keep feeding people. There are ways you can help on that score, and I’ll be including them. We’ll be staying at the Oglala camp, as usual.
I’ve already written my scorn for all those people who just can’t whine enough about how tough and awful stuffing their faces with family is going to be, because they’ll have to keep quiet about politics, or hear about politics. If you are one of them, maybe you could yank your nose out of your navel long enough to think about what other people are going through, and how to help them. Are there terrified refugees around you? How about freezing, starving homeless people? LGBTQI people who are living in fear? People of Colour who haven’t yet figured out if they need to be scared of you too? All the people at Standing Rock who are in desperate need of everything? There’s a whole lot more. If all you’re managing to do today is stuffing your face, rolling your eyes at Auntie Jean or Uncle John, and stifling sighs as you park your ass on the couch to watch television, at the very least, you could stop whinging about it. No one else needs to hear that. Everyone else, have a happy whateveritistoyou.
If you can make it out to the camp, please come. We need all the people we can get, there’s always plenty to do. This evening, Jane Fonda and Mark Ruffalo are going to be helping to serve supper. Have a nice something or other everyone.
Some reading: Forget Plymouth Rock. Stand with Standing Rock.
ICTMN has a long list of legitimate ways to donate and help out Standing Rock. Check there, if you are unsure. Don’t give individuals money unless you know them personally.
Want to stay current? #nodapl.
The Continental Congress declared a Thanksgiving celebration in 1777 in the midst of the American Revolution. George Washington reprised the idea in 1789 – his first year as president.
Many states continued the tradition, but interest faded in the 1800s until novelist and poet Sarah Josepha Hale – of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” fame – began campaigning for the idea. Thirty states had joined her cause by the start of the Civil War. Even the Lincoln family is reported to have had a November Thanksgiving celebration in 1860, before “The Man from Illinois” took office.
And, though not proven, it’s likely Hale’s September 1863 letter to Lincoln asking him to “appoint the last Thursday in November as the National Thanksgiving…” played a substantial role in the 16th President’s decision to start what’s now our standard Fall celebration.
Well, it’s a celebration for most of us. Many Native Americans actually don’t take part in the observance.
Not because of the day’s mythical misinformation. There was actually a 1621 gathering of the Pilgrims and members of the Wampanoag Nation who’d taught them how to plant crops and survive their first year in America. But according to Wampanoag tradition it came as the result of 90 warriors arriving at the colonists’ settlement after hearing the sounds of guns and cannon being fired.
Since both sides had entered into a treaty to support one another should either be attacked, the Wampanoag were expecting to encounter a military engagement.It turned out to be the equivalent of modern-day fireworks display marking the Pilgrims’ Fall harvest. A letter by colonist Edward Winslow states that a 3-day feast did then take place during which time the Wampanoag went out to hunt and gather food—deer, ducks, geese, and fish. But it wasn’t a matter of everyone sitting down at a long, white linen covered table to share a meal – or anything resembling that. And there’s no record of the Pilgrims giving thanks to God…or even to the Wampanoag.
It’s the second Pilgrim Thanksgiving, however, that irks many Native Americans to this day. That would be the 1637 feast held to “celebrate” the slaughter of 700 men, women and children of the Pequot Nation. The Massachusetts Bay Colony Governor then ordered an annual celebration for the next hundred years in remembrance of that mass slaying.
But the most striking Thanksgiving hypocrisy may be the fate of the Wampanoag. A breakdown in the peace established between the tribe and the colonists came as the result of continued land expansion by the Europeans. After losing a war to defend their territory, Wampanoag leader Metacom – “King Philip” – was arrested and killed. His severed hands were sent to the King of England and the governor of the colony had Metacom’s head placed in a public square for 20 years as a warning to other Native Americans who might question Western Europeans’ “right to rule” the land.
Of course, this is all ancient history and beyond the scope of understanding for most non-Natives when it comes to realizing and accepting the effects of historical trauma on a people.
We met Gilbert Kills early on at the camp, when he was planning his art piece. Our signatures are back there somewhere.
~~~~THE NO WATER CHALLENGE~~~
There have been many challenges on Facebook and in social media that have gone viral. This one doesn’t involve water. Being that so many politicians, corporations, and the average caucasian North Dakotan thinks that water is not important, here is the challenge. You can not have anything to do with water for 24 hours. This means no flushing a toilet, no washing your face, no drinking anything with water. No eating any portion that needed water to sustain it, no eating any crop that had anything to do with water. No drinking anything that needed water to make, being that everything has water in it including soda, about the only thing on this list is oil. No brushing your teeth, showering, or even going fishing. No going on a boat, no going swimming, no washing your clothes, no water in your life for 24 hours. I realize this is impossible for mostly everyone. Mostly everyone does not know that water is given up for 4 days and nights in the summer time during ceremony by the very same people who are fighting to protect their water. Not everyone participates in that ceremony but even those who don’t are in the prayers of those that do make the sacrifice. If you think you are ok without sacred water, then take this challenge. I realize not even the strongest man or woman can do this or even the richest, however, should you decide to take it, post it. Let us know truthfully how many minutes or hours you lasted. It is impossible. Let’s hear it North Dakotans, you think water is nothing, do it.
#NOWATERCHALLENGE #NODAPL #WATERISLIFE