The View from Colonized Indigenous Un-Thanksgiving

The True Story of “The Great Gift Of The Christian Faith To The Peoples Of This Continent.”  (including wood block prints, history, and a salient quote by Karl Marx.

‘To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.’

~ Arundhati Roy

19 responses to “The View from Colonized Indigenous Un-Thanksgiving

  1. Americans are falling all over themselves trying to paint the Muslim religion as evil and fanatic. Along comes THE very holiday that illustrates the genocidal and fanatic ways of Christianity.

    • nice to see you, big al, and yes. muslims have once again been ‘weaponized’ in the western culture, much like young black and indigenous males. this image goes right to your point; i hope it embeds.

      and only months ago this ‘fresh air pope; canonized the murderous enslaver of west coast first americans, junipero sera.

      cool; it worked. Shawnee/Oglala Ashley Nicole McCray writes: “So enjoy that turkey…but remember that you are doing so in a land that was stolen. Honor the dead by remembering their stories and their sacrifice.”

      Amen. “To never look away. And never, never to forget.”

      • It’s probably too much to ask but it would be refreshing if Ashley and others would give this meme a rest and put down the hatchet and pass around the pipe. I don’t celebrate this holiday but trying to give people indigestion over it seems best left to the weird uncle or aunt that usually shows up.

        Reading a descendent of Oglala Lakota chide us about stolen land is a bit humorous because they stole their sacred Paha Sapa from their friends the Cheyenne in 1776 who earlier stole it from the Kiowa. The Cheyenne gave the Lakota the horse which they used to become mounted warriors/buffalo hunters and they repaid them by stealing their land, there was a reason they were called snakes/enemy by other tribes.

        I don’t mean to minimize their suffering or excuse the White Man’s subjugation of the Red Man but without the push from westward expansion the horse and steel the Lakota would have remained poor dirt farmers in the Midwest and probably died out from disease. Instead they reverted to a modified mounted paleolithic warrior society, probably the most effective Light Cavalry in history. They ranged free on the Great Plains for about 150 years and were feared by everyone except maybe Custer who paid for that mistake.

        • you know, wayoutwest, i don’t mind dissenting opinions and referenced history, but i do mind that your style is often to deliver it at the business end of a chainsaw.

        • That most people lack understanding of much of the history of colonized, indigenous people is a reasons to advance the critique, not “give it a rest.”

          Nor should the critique “rest” because some of this history includes people whose history includes injustice or destruction apart from colonial violence.

          Should abolitionists have given it a rest because tribal rivalries and malaria would have taken their toll in Africa? Peace activists, because Afghan warlords would have killed a lot of people? Who would be served by that?

          fixed it,


          • thank you, marym. for your gentle lesson, and for the stunning link. as alliances grow, they’ll be more profoundly powerful, won’t they? the MulimLivesMatter hashtag seems to be catching on as well.

            this week marked the 46th anniversary of aim’s occupation of alcatraz. the voice in the recording sounded a bit like charlotte black elk’s, or how i remember it.


          • you caused me to look at baysolidarity’s account, and i found this inspiring statement of solidarity:

          • Marym, I think you misinterpret my intention in my comment, all false myths and histories should be examined and criticized especially those of the White settler conquest of the NA. What I criticized was one Lakota woman’s use of guilt tripping, although others use it, and hypocrisy about stealing lands that will do nothing to bring support to their cause, in fact it will alienate many people who might support it. Guilt tripping is no more effective as a tactic now than the Ghost Dance, another Western influenced mythology, was in the 1890’s, they need something that relates to conditions today sans guilt or the victim mentality to develop support and helps them steer their own way forward.

            The histories and myths of the many different NA cultures and their subjugation by the White settler are as varied as the NA peoples were when the White settlers arrived but I was addressing one small group, the Lakota Sioux and their unique history and Western influenced myths and culture.

            The Lakota didn’t develop their mounted plains warrior society, myths and identity until after 1720 and that identity may be affecting their society negatively today. There are many external factors that negatively affect their reservations but few of the men farm or work or create businesses, women hold most jobs and do the ‘work’.

            There are some positive signs they are trying to build internal businesses and even farm hemp and they should keep trying to regain the Black Hills even if they stole it.

            • how funny that you took ms. mcCray’s invitation to enjoy our turkey as ‘guilt-tripping’. i didn’t at all, especially with her asking us to know some of the ludicrous white-washing of the celebration. the authors’ telling of the pequot massacre, and quoting some of those who savaged the different tribal members showed a hella lot of ‘the context’.

              but i’d thought marym was reminding you that even you had said that western expansion by white ‘settlers’ was what drove the lakota westward, so who can say what would have happened among the tribes without that push.

              now i read a lot of versions of those histories in my spare time over the past two days, and i’ll try to bring some of what i’d found, even knowing that much indigenous history was written by white men. as an aside, one of the things i enjoyed about the ‘we shall remain’ series was that often they interviewed NA scholars and historians.

              some of what you’ve mentioned seems to have come from the wiki, but even those entries indicate that the cheyenne and lakota fought together at the little bighorn. and other sources claim that the lakota were driven westward by the ojibwa and cree who’d gotten guns from the french fur traders; that makes a lotta sense. even that early buffalo quickly became central to their existence and culture.

              i was rather rocked by your contention that the cherokees gave the lakota horses, as it didn’t square with what i thought i’d remembered. this chapter from a book on the subject points to a lot of different ways various tribes stole horses, traded for horses, etc. over time, but this account has it that the pueblo rebellion started the chain of horse-spreading, from pueblos to navajos and utes, and especially comanches, who the author claims raided for horses in mexico, becoming the epitome of the horse culture. oh, and that ‘eventually’ they came to the cheyenne and lakota. otoh, at the end, he maintains that gaining horses didn’t change the cultures much, which is hooey on the surface; maybe his next chapter explains it.

              but wth? with wovoka’s ghost dance and western culture? does that negate it? it was huge, and maybe silly by our standards, but did unify a lot of tribes, eventually leading to sitting bull’s death (and many others) since the white folks were so terrified of it. yeah, some of the versions apparently invoked the name of jesus, but so does native american peyote church have jesus at the core. i attended once, and didn’t care so much for that angle, but then…i didn’t eat the medicine. ;-)

              well, anyway.

  2. Thanks for posting this at C99, and have a nice Thanksgiving, WD!

    I’ll be attempting to learn ‘Easy Copy,’ too.


    • ‘allo, blue, and welcome. i downloaded it, but oof: it looks like greek to me. ;-) my learning curve is pretty steep now, dagnabbit.

      and have a good ‘smallpox blanket day’, as hfcmofo is wont to say, ay yi yi.

  3. Happy “When did Massasoit say anything about green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and fried onions?” Day. Those aren’t the Three Sisters.

    Interesting history of Eastern North American in 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. Points out how even early narratives after 1540 (DeSoto’s expedition across the Southeast) are already describing political and community rearrangement and consolidation because of massive disease die-offs and the effects of the Spanish hogs in disrupting agriculture in the Southeast. Crop failures and famine from disruption of communities were as much an agent of genocide on the continent as disease. Free-ranging livestock of the settler colonialists were as signficant as emptying the frontier of indigenous peoples as disease. Diseased blankets as a deliberate act of war appeared in the 18th century in the British colonies

    Much about the conventions of indigenous diplomacy that went of the British officials’ head.

    Bruce K. Richter, Looking East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America

    • thanks for that new bit of hog history, THD; who’d have thunk it? but it makes sense.

      but you gave me a needed chortle over the (not) three sisters. i remember someone quipping that not all that long ago, dumping cream of mushroom soup and canned fried onions was the hallmark of the ‘home gourmet cook’. ;-)

      on edit: i got to thinking that you might be interested in the daniel reff book in box #3 on the revcom site from up yonder in the OP.

      • Thanks for the reference. A bit west of my geographical interest (old Florida, which extended up the Georgia and Carolina coasts), but I’ll see if I can find it. Menendez in St. Augustine tried to establish a mission on the Chesapeake Bay near present Norfolk VA. I don’t think there were any efforts further north of that although there were slaving raids along the coast sufficient to introduce native populations to how white men behaved. Subsequent contacts showed that the natives knew exactly what to expect — duplicity, danger, and trade goods.

  4. maybe too familiar? but what the hell.

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