Oppressed people always touch my heart and soul. Maybe in a past life I suffered through slavery or resettlement or pogroms. Maybe my belief that what happens to any one person on the planet happens to all of us sways my feelings. But for whatever reason, I carry it as a burden.
Most often, I become aware of the history of oppression through reading. Not history books but well researched novels. One I am reading now talks about the actual first Thanksgiving feast that has become a Day of Mourning for Native Americans.
Here is an excellent retelling of the more accurate history of that event and subsequent atrocities against the Native Americans. http://americanindiansource.com/mourningday.html A difference in the book I read makes me smile. According to the romance author, the settlers at Plymouth celebrated surviving the winter by shooting off all the guns they had. When the Wampanoag or People of the First Light, heard the racket, they thought the colonists were being attacked. Gathering 90 warriors, Massasoit rushed to help. When the true situation became clear, Massasoit realized the settlers were being overly optimistic. Therefore his warriors gathered food, none of which was turkey, and held a feast for the pilgrims.
Is that what you learned in school? Unless you are of Native American blood, you probably never knew this. I do remember being taught that the Native Americans showed the settlers how to put fish into the ground before planting seeds, an early fertilizer. They showed the way to plant The Three Sisters, corn, beans, and squash, in the same plot of land. The corn grew tall, the bean vines twined up the stalk, and the squash grew down the small hill needed to plant the three varieties.
Many years ago, I skimmed a book (back then, if the story wasn’t a Regency, I couldn’t stay interested) where an alternate reality existed. The states were the property of the Tribes and anyone not of American Indian blood needed a passport or visa to live there or visit places like the Grand Canyon or the Painted Desert. I don’t remember the story well enough to find it again, but the concept of Natives keeping the rights to the land of the free sweeps me off my feet.
The Native American culture always gave thanks, regularly and sincerely, for their food, their families, their lives, and their way of life. Descendents of that original welcoming tribe still live today in Plymouth and encourage all people to remember it as a day of both mourning and thanksgiving. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/native-americans-national-day-of-mourning_us_5650c46ee4b0258edb31c3ca
Celebrate as you see fit today. If you are inclined to see from another’s point of view, may this video lift your heart in thanks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvWGkwD2G5Q
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.