Once Again…

November 24, 2011 at 10:17 am (Uncategorized) (, )

…I shall post a previously posted post.  In honor of the holiday, I present the truth about Thanksgiving:

When I was an undergrad, I took quite a few courses in Native American History.  I thought it were fascinating and I was simply astounded at the things I didn’t know about the history of America.  For instance, did you know that in 1969 a group of Native Americans from many different tribes came together to occupy Alcatraz Island?  The Sioux Treaty of 1868 stated that all abandoned or unused federal land adjacent to the Sioux Reservation could be reclaimed by descendants of the Sioux Nation, and reclaim that land was what the Native Americans did.  They occupied the island for nineteen months and nine days, and this was something I was never taught about in history class.

Of course, there are many things that are simply glossed over in any given classroom full of young white students.  The history behind the very first Thanksgiving happens to be one of these things.  As a disclaimer, if you don’t want your rosy idea of Pilgrims and Indians laughing and sharing over a giant turkey to be forever altered, you should probably quit reading now and come back another day.  I know my posts are usually full of humor and wit, but this one will be a bit more serious.  Consider me Wednesday at her Thanksgiving Day pageant.

If you do a simple internet search for the true story of Thanksgiving, you’ll come up with a totally different story than the one that’s reenacted every year in elementary school gymnasiums all over the country.  Ready to learn what’s not so easy to explain to a bunch of five-year olds?

“In 1637 near present-day Groton, Connecticut, over 700 men, women and children of the Pequot Tribe had gathered for their annual Green Corn Festival (which is now our Thanksgiving celebration). In the predawn hours the sleeping Indians were surrounded by English and Dutch mercenaries who ordered them to come outside.  Those who came out were shot or clubbed to death while the terrified women and children who huddled inside the longhouse were burned alive.”

Gruesome, right?  Here’s what the Governor of Massachusetts Bay colony had to say the next day:

“A day of Thanksgiving, thanking God that they had eliminated over 700 men, women and children.”  It was then signed into law that, “This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots.”

Doesn’t exactly give you the warm fuzzies, does it?  Well, it’s history and history isn’t always pretty.  Here’s more:

“Cheered by their “victory”, the brave colonists and their Indian allies attacked village after village. Women and children over 14 were sold into slavery while the rest were murdered.  Boats loaded with a many as 500 slaves regularly left the ports of New England. Bounties were paid for Indian scalps to encourage as many deaths as possible.

Following an especially successful raid against the Pequot in what is now  Stamford, Connecticut, the churches announced a second day of “thanksgiving” to celebrate victory over the heathen savages.  During the feasting, the hacked off heads of Natives were kicked through the streets like soccer balls.  Even the friendly Wampanoag did not escape the madness. Their chief was beheaded, and his head impaled on a pole in Plymouth, Massachusetts — where it remained on display for 24 years.

The killings became more and more frenzied, with days of thanksgiving feasts being held after each successful massacre. George Washington finally suggested that only one day of Thanksgiving per year be set aside instead of celebrating each and every massacre. Later Abraham Lincoln decreed Thanksgiving Day to be a legal national holiday during the Civil War — on the same day he ordered troops to march against the starving Sioux in Minnesota.”

Grisly indeed.  I’m not trying to ruin your Thanksgiving or turn you against your country or anything like that.  As you can see from my last post, I’m quite thankful that I live where I do.  I’m unable, though, to give thanks properly without thinking about the true history of the holiday.  It’s only fair the Native Americans get the respect they deserve, and I like to think that Wednesday Addams would agree with me.

*Special thanks to the following websites, which provided me with valuable information and amazing quotes:

Alcatraz Island Occupation:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupation_of_Alcatraz

http://www.pbs.org/itvs/alcatrazisnotanisland/timeline.html

The Real Thanksgiving:

http://www.manataka.org/page269.html

http://www.republicoflakotah.com/2009/cooking-the-history-books-the-thanksgiving-massacre/

http://longstreet.typepad.com/thesciencebookstore/2009/07/jf-ptak—-the-great-mystery-was-how-those–indians-were-smuggled-out-of-the-grave-in-spite-of-the-watchfulness-of-those–gu.html

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Giving Thanks – Day Four

November 25, 2010 at 12:37 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

I have an awesome family.  Excuse me while I brag.

My mom is one of six children, most of whom have children of their own.  I have seven cousins on her side and I’m pretty close with all of them.  We grew up together, enjoying time with Zelda, the Mario Brothers and Barbie.  We played hide and seek in the dark basement and explored the woods whenever we could.  We still enjoy each others company now but it usually involves an adult beverage or two instead of a video game console…although sometimes the gaming gets back in there too.  My mom’s brothers and sisters are also pretty great and their parents, my grandparents, are two of my favorite people. We’re all still pretty close and with the exception of myself and one aunt, everyone still lives within about an hour of one another.  I know that if I ever needed anything, my family would have my back.  They might make fun of me for being a vegetarian hippie but I know their heart is in the right place.  Oh, and my mom?  Well if you’ve read enough of this blog you know I think she’s pretty much the raddest mom ever.  My sister is pretty great too…at least, most of the time.

Yeah, they pretty much rule

Currently, I’m spending some quality time with the paternal, more Southern side of my family.  My dad has one brother and one sister and I have three cousins from my aunt.  One cousin has an 8-year-old boy, so I’ve been playing football for two days.  I don’t get to see this side of my family but once a year (you guessed it, at Thanksgiving) and so we try to make the most of it while we can.  Luckily, my cousins are all around my age and there’s a little local bar that allows us to catch up in the most appropriate way.  My grandparents on this side are pretty great as well but due to the geographic nature of our relationship, I simply don’t know them as well as I would like.  No matter, we’re all able to sit around a fire pit and tell stories all night long anyway.  I always value the time I get down here because it is so limited – plus, the cooking pretty much beats anything I can whip up in my own kitchen.  In fact, as soon as I finish this here post I’m hitting the kitchen to help begin the big Thanksgiving Day Meal prep.  I might not eat turkey but I load up on casseroles, potatoes, pies and anything else lying around.  And I’ve got my sweatpants set out so I’m officially ready.

I know I’m extremely lucky to have grown up so close with so much of my family and the older I get, the more I realize how rare having such great relatives can be.  I hate hearing stories of crappy family situations and it just makes me want to adopt those people who have to deal with that and introduce them to the wonderful craziness I get to enjoy.  So if you’re one of those who wishes you could spend your holidays elsewhere, let me know and I’ll drag you along with me next time.  You can eat my portion of the turkey.

On a side note, if you’re interested in the real history behind today’s holiday, check out this post I wrote from last year.  It’s not very pretty but it is fairly factual.

If you just want to laugh, check out awkwardfamilyphotos.com.  I thought of using one of those pics in today’s post but there were just too many to choose from, so if you want to take a look before you slip into a food coma, be my guest.

Now it’s time to help the host get the table set.  Happy Thanksgiving!

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