Wednesday, November 25, 2009

ignore the ugly lies and brutality buried beneath the fantasy of "thanksgiving"

39th National Native American Day Of Mourning
Nov. 27, 2008, Thanksgiving (or thanks-"taking") Day

For the past four decades, United American Indians of New England have staged an alternative to America's shameless, self-aggrandizing fantasy of a holiday, "Thanksgiving." The members of UAINE call their rejection of this fantasy the National Day of Mourning. The events -- including a march, speeches, and other forms of gathering and protest -- will take place this year on November 26 (tomorrow), in Plymouth, Massachusetts, which was the supposed site of the "pilgrim" landing.

As the organizers explain on the UAINE site,

An annual tradition since 1970, Day of Mourning is a solemn, spiritual and highly political day. Many of us fast from sundown the day before through the afternoon of that day (and have a social after Day of Mourning so that participants in DOM can break their fasts). We are mourning our ancestors and the genocide of our peoples and the theft of our lands. NDOM is a day when we mourn, but we also feel our strength in political action. Over the years, participants in Day of Mourning have buried Plymouth Rock a number of times, boarded the Mayflower replica, and placed ku klux klan sheets on the statue of William Bradford, etc.

Regarding the American "Thanksgiving" myth, the United American Indians of New England also point out the following:

Here is the truth: The reason they talk about the pilgrims and not an earlier English-speaking colony, Jamestown, is that in Jamestown the circumstances were way too ugly to hold up as an effective national myth. For example, the white settlers in Jamestown turned to cannibalism to survive. Not a very nice story to tell the kids in school. The pilgrims did not find an empty land any more than Columbus "discovered" anything. Every inch of this land is Indian land.

The pilgrims (who did not even call themselves pilgrims) did not come here seeking religious freedom; they already had that in Holland. They came here as part of a commercial venture. They introduced sexism, racism, anti-lesbian and gay bigotry, jails, and the class system to these shores. One of the very first things they did when they arrived on Cape Cod -- before they even made it to Plymouth -- was to rob Wampanoag graves at Corn Hill and steal as much of the Indians' winter provisions as they were able to carry.

They were no better than any other group of Europeans when it came to their treatment of the Indigenous peoples here. And no, they did not even land at that sacred shrine down the hill called Plymouth Rock, a monument to racism and oppression which we are proud to say we buried in 1995.

The first official "Day of Thanksgiving" was proclaimed in 1637 by Governor Winthrop. He did so to celebrate the safe return of men from Massachusetts who had gone to Mystic, Connecticut to participate in the massacre of over 700 Pequot women, children, and men.

About the only true thing in the whole mythology is that these pitiful European strangers would not have survived their first several years in "New England" were it not for the aid of Wampanoag people. What Native people got in return for this help was genocide, theft of our lands, and never-ending repression.

But back in 1970, the organizers of [a] fancy state dinner told Wamsutta he could not speak that truth. They would let him speak only if he agreed to deliver a speech that they would provide. Wamsutta refused to have words put into his mouth. Instead of speaking at the dinner, he and many hundreds of other Native people and our supporters from throughout the Americas gathered in Plymouth and observed the first National Day of Mourning. United American Indians of New England have returned to Plymouth every year since to demonstrate against the Pilgrim mythology.

On that first Day of Mourning back in 1970, Plymouth Rock was buried not once, but twice. The Mayflower was boarded and the Union Jack was torn from the mast and replaced with the flag that had flown over liberated Alcatraz Island. The roots of National Day of Mourning have always been firmly embedded in the soil of militant protest.

The United American Indians of New England welcome non-Native supporters to stand with them tomorrow during their National Day of Mourning. For further information see their website,

Here's some raw footage of last year's event:

If you live in the United States, do you have any plans for tomorrow that differ from the normal white American modes of giving thanks?

As for me, if I lived anywhere near Plymouth, I would join the events described above. Since I don't, my plans for tomorrow differ little from what I wrote about what I did on that day last year:

I watched a DVD that I'd found a few days earlier at my local library. Along with those who were willing to watch it with me, I learned about the histories of the Native Americans who used to live where I do now, before people of my race sent the few remaining ones out to western "reservations."

I also took my dog for a long walk, and tried to imagine what this area and its people were like back then, before my people stole it. I struggled with how I should feel about that, and what I could do about it.

Along the way, I told a friend who greeted me with "Happy Thanksgiving!" that that was a terrible thing to say, and that I wasn't feeling "thankful" for the results of the genocidal past that landed me here. That literally "landed" me here.

Later, during the annual Big Dinner, I insisted on an awkward moment of mourning and reverence for the absent peoples, the original inhabitants, who taught my ancestors how to raise and prepare several types of the food we were about to eat, and some of whose remains might be right here, underneath us.


  1. That's some interesting information. Thanks. the truth is. I'm gonna eat roasted turkey and mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner, because I rarely eat that at home (since I'm Indian and I eat Indian food everyday).

    But I'll definitely use this as a day of mourning for Indigenous Americans who have been murdered in the name of terrorism and capitalism.

  2. I have been boycotting this "holiday" as long as I can remember. My SOs generally cook a big meal, but they like to cook, and we all feel similarly about the "holiday" so it is not with any intent of "thanksgiving."

    This year it's just me and SO#2 (separated from SO#1 geographically). I have a ton of homework, so I *am* thankful for the days of no work/no class to get things wrapped up.

    I am also not saying "happy thanksgiving" back to anyone who says it to me. At work I don't really have the liberty to start shit with "yeah, thanks for the genocide!", but at least I can be a non-participant.

  3. Thank you for posting this! My family lives on the reservation for the Confederated Tribes of the Salish & Kootenai in Montana. While we do "celebrate" Thanksgiving, we have always made a point to pause and talk about what really went down with the Native Americans and the pilgrim invaders. We'll always take time to give thanks as a family at this time each year, but in our home, with our children, we will be sure to give a more informed and less romanticized version of the story being taught to them in school.

  4. I will enjoy the current co-opted and genericized day of thanks, mostly removed from the old myths, and not give anyone celebrating it a hard time. The only places that push this mythos are schools and businesses. To most families, it's just a day for family, food, and football. Even the ones that buy tacky Native American and Pilgrim decorations don't seem to actually care about the myth. I don't know many, ok any, people who keep the mythos in mind when celebrating thanksgiving except for if they have kids in school who have the mythos shoved down their throats.

    I'd rather protest all the Thanksgiving lessons and racist decorations in schools than come down on a friend for harmlessly wishing me a happy turkey day. Do you know how many schools have thanksgiving plays that consist of costumes pretty consistant with the "Indian' costumes in the halloween post?

    I have no problems with a day of thanks. What I have a problem with is that images like this ( continute to be pushed.

  5. I work through the day and act like it doesn't exist.

    That said, my family has always used the holiday simply as a day of gathering. We don't do anything typical and never have.

    I do like the idea of treating it as a day of mourning, however.

  6. You sound like a lot of fun

  7. "They introduced sexism, racism, anti-lesbian and gay bigotry, jails, and the class system to these shores. "
    I'm pretty sure most of that long predated Europeans...

  8. Maria M. said...

    You sound like a lot of fun

    yeah macon, why you gotta harsh everyone else's buzz like that, huh? refusing to shut down your sense of morality, your conscience, your sense of justice and all. you're such a downer, dude. grab a fork and shovel in some of that industrial turkey! pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics, cruelty, shit and all -- yum! life is supposed to be fun, dude. fuck those dead injuns. they lost, we won. *urp*


  9. Blue Mako, for many tribes gay/lesbian/transgender biogtry certainly did not predate Europeans. Perhaps you should check out this article:

    "Teen Spirit

    While Native American cultures have long honored people of integrated genders, a new documentary looks at a shocking hate crime against a two-gendered Colorado teenager.

    By Lesley Goldberg

    The new documentary Two Spirits depicts the true story of Fred Martinez, a 16-year-old Colorado teenager slain for being a “two-spirit” -- a masculine spirit and a feminine spirit living in the same body. Director Lydia Nibley pauses ahead of the film’s November 21 world premiere at the Starz Denver Film Festival to discuss Martinez’s story and the nature of gender within Native American culture."

    For more information:

  10. Sounds to me like UAINE took seriously the silly, whitewashed myth our elementary schools shove down kids' throats. (The mythologizing of our country's origins occurring in the public schools is another issue.) In reality the historical basis of Thanksgiving is actually an issue of some contention.

    But wherever it comes from, people nowadays view the holiday as a chance to spend time with those who matter to them and express gratitude for what they have. It has about as much connection to the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag as Halloween nowadays has to an ancient Celtic harvest festival.

    By saying this, I am not trying to disrespect or belittle the very real suffering American Indians endured at the hands of European settlers. It's just barking up the wrong tree. Responding to "Happy Thanksgiving!" with "[That's] a terrible thing to say, and [I'm not] feeling 'thankful' for the results of the genocidal past that landed me here" is going to accomplish exactly nothing, except maybe make you look like a brittle, sanctimonious jerk.

  11. No doubt we can respect the dead. But that doesn't mean that you have to completely reject all the traditions of Thanksgiving. I am still going to give thanks tomorrow, because though it may be tied to a holiday based on lies, there is nothing inherently bad about giving thanks, hell, people should do it more often and examine how much they really do have going for them. I am still going to enjoy a good meal with my family tomorrow, because this is literally the only time of year we are all together in the same house. I don't think that is wrong either.

    Eff the pilgrim worshiping, indigenous erasing Thanksgiving. But that doesn't mean we have to avoid everything associated with it.

    Besides, why is it that only on Thanksgiving we should try to understand the consequences of the indigenous massacre by the European colonizers? Why can't people celebrate the less repulsive aspects of Thanksgiving, and instead remember the past atrocities as a daily thing, rather than a day thing, as you've suggested? Or seem to suggest Maybe I'm misreading you, it just seems you are saying we should only be focusing on the negative today, instead of doing anything positive...but then the rest of the days we can go back to being positive. Why can't everyday be a mix of both?

  12. The only thing different that I am doing is going to the movies with family and getting ready for black friday shopping. Thanksgiving for us is time spent with family you do not get to see as often as you were once able to. We don't eat traditional food on thanksgiving day because my family is West African. I would refuse to eat if all we had was turkey and mashed potatoes.

  13. Macon, you might want to read my take on Thanksgiving here.

    If you want to repost pertinent parts of it tomorrow, fine, if not, simple enjoy this black woman's perspective.


  14. A day of mourning sounds nice. But if we do nothing more to help the Native communities who survived the genocide and are still dying under shitty conditions, what good is it? I'm sure there is something more productive to do than boycotting dinner with families or symbolic protests. It's a step forward I guess. Exposure is always a good first tool in our arsenal. However, we need to go beyond it. Otherwise it is just a superficial gesture -- the typical white liberal response to problems like this.

  15. I'm not American and don't celebrate Thanksgiving, but I can't help but wonder if boycotting a holiday isn't just another form of slacktivism.
    The significance of holidays evolves in time, they lose some of their initial meaning and gain new meanings; sometimes only the rituals persist because they are appealing as such. Many non-Christians celebrate Christmas, have a tree (a ritual that Christians themselves adopted from pre-Christian cultures), buy presents, even if they don't believe in Jesus; to them, it's just another occasion to spend time with family and have fun.
    Why couldn't it be the same for Thanksgiving? I think it's more important what each particular family chooses to see in this holiday. Eating turkey and giving thanks for what you have doesn't make you a supporter of genocide, or an ignorant.
    Kit - very beautiful and moving article, I support your views entirely. Happy Thanksgiving!

  16. I love this holiday waaaay too much to boycott it. I only ever get to eat Thanksgiving food around this time of the year so I'm psyched everytime this holiday comes around. (mmm.... food....)

    This holiday, like every other holiday we have, has been evolved into something utterly different than it's origins. Some of our other holidays, too, have brutality and bloodshed surrounding them but they're so old that nobody ever thinks about that anymore either.

    I do think it's important to know and understand the truth of what this holiday is based upon, the ugly brutal truth, but I'm honestly not going to let that get in between me and my green bean casserole.

    I'm with Cloudy. Stop with this fictional, romanticized, racist education in American classrooms. In my opinion, that's where the real harm is being done.

  17. I just wanted to take a quick moment to show you the small way I am trying to do my part this Thanksgiving over on my blog.

    Like I said, I will always use this day as a day of remembering to give thanks, but also as a way to spark a little conversation about the extreme injustice done to the Native American people.

  18. >This holiday, like every other holiday we have, has been evolved into something utterly different than it's origins.

    That reminds me. There are many nursery rhymes which are actually depressingly depressing if you listen to the lyrics. Here are some:

    I also remember someone saying that "Ring around the rosy" is about the Black Death.

    This isn't just with English songs. There are plenty of depressing Japanese children's songs too. I wonder why we do that as humans - turn a tragedy into something that seems happy.

  19. @fromthetropics

    Nobody knows what Ring around the Roses is for. Check Wiki about it; there's no solid evidence for it being anything other than a children's song.

    As for Thanksgiving, I'll do my part and read up on Navajo grammar. Maybe next year I can volunteer at a homeless shelter. and bake turducken.

  20. Why do these blog entries have to be so negative? Can't anymore ever offer a solution or ways to help be against racism?

    The best way to speak out against the crimes of the past isn't through boycotts of white holidays from a distance. The best way to be against racism isn't through diminishing your own culture. Because, in the end, it accomplishes nothing because it takes no effort.

    The answer is just to treat everyone equal and be a friend. Positivity is what affects change; not negativity.

    But i'm sure this will just be ignored by people on here. Too many of you seem to be addicted to your own form of negativity and hate from the comments i see on here. I honestly feel sorry for many of you...maybe one day you'll smile.

  21. This blog is so intellectually bankrupt sometimes its hard to read. Here is my issue with this post.
    The article states, that the european/white settlers brought "sexism, racism, anti-lesbian and gay bigotry, jails, and the class system to these shores."
    The thing is, they didn't because all of those terms, those ideas are 19th/20th century postmodern constructs. They literally did not exist during that time, therefor you are placing those terms on that time and saying what took place is that. You can't take postmodern ideas and reappropriate them to the past. You can point out that what actually happened back then and say that "now" these things are considered such and such, which is fine. But to suggest as the article seems to, that back in 17th century that sexism, racism, gay/lesbian bigotry was brought to these shores as if anyone or any culture had access to these concepts or were at a developmental level higher than ethnocentric is absurd, and simply not true. The fact is despite all horrible things,(what we know call horrible, back then was probably simply the highest cultural development level accessible)had many positives, which I am sure you and many of your readers will reject out of hand, simply because the postmodern ideas of one group having power over other groups is just the simple fact that you live by as is the ridiculously out dated concept of social construction of which the anti-racism is based. All I am saying is that your view is narrow, not as narrow as the millions of Americans who believe those traditonal thanksgiving myths, but narrow enough to create a postmodern myth of european/white settlers engaging in acts at the time were no worse than found anywhere else in world, including native americans, and don't trump out that any of that they had no genocide bullshit, cause it's just as much a myth as any of the others.

  22. "Along the way, I told a friend who greeted me with "Happy Thanksgiving!" that that was a terrible thing to say, and that I wasn't feeling "thankful" for the results of the genocidal past that landed me here. That literally "landed" me here."

    You're representing a disposition that transcends race and ethnicity, the moping know-it-all that would spoil a nice family get-together or even a casual encounter to whine about some obscure, centuries old injustice.

  23. shut up and eat,

    Nothing was "spoiled" by what I said. And I wasn't whining when I said it -- how a person says such things matters, a lot. I wasn't "moping," and I know that I didn't come across as a know-it-all.

  24. I'm not sure it's so obscure and centuries-old for the native peoples who are still suffering today.

  25. >> "The thing is, they didn't because all of those terms, those ideas are 19th/20th century postmodern constructs. They literally did not exist during that time, therefor you are placing those terms on that time and saying what took place is that."

    Wait, what?

    The *terms* did not exist. However, the situations they indicated--discrimination based on sex, who you have sex with (at least sometimes), and ethnicity/origin were very much real. Have you ever heard of the Bible, for example? Ezekiel castigates the people of Israel by referring to them as the descendants of an Amorite and a Hittite, who by the way are from the land of the Canaanites. Or you can read the writings of 16th century (that would be 1500s, so, pre-Pilgrims) European scholars who debate whether "dark skinned" people of the Western Hemisphere have souls. Perhaps you'd prefer
    something like Platonism, where "male" is associated with straight, light, and other things that were considered good qualities, whereas female is associated with bent, dark, and other things that were considered bad qualities.

    I know very little about sex, sexuality, and perceptions of race/ethnicity in the Americas before the European invasion. But what I do know is that prejudices based on ethnicity, sex and who people have sex with vastly predate "postmodern" times. And, by the way, if you bothered to do any research yourself, you would find that the postmodern thinkers you claim invented power discourse actually refer to racism, sexism, and heterosexism as inventions of Modern society. Chronologically, it would be very hard to consider first wave and pre-first wave feminists, who were very explicit about revealing sexism in society, as postmodern.

    So basically, when you claim sexism, racism, and homophobia are "postmodern," you are quite simply talking out of your ass.

  26. Willow,
    Yes, those "things" vastly pre-date post modern times and terms probably wasn't the best word to use. What I mean is, even though all those things happened, you have to look at those times 16/17th century through the lens of the "available" ideas of values/morality at the time. Sexism, anti gay bias, those values simply were not "available" to any culture of the time, both the white/euro settlers and the natives of this land, (evidence to contrary for the natives is pure romanticism). I am not quite simply talking out my ass, you are claiming to take the culture values that have only existed for the past hundred years and place them on top of the cultural values of 16/17th century cultures. If you look at the highest level of cultural development available to any culture of the time it was barely ethnocentric, and yes I did say highest, because there is such a thing as development, not just power. Study up, and don't embarrass yourself Willow because my argument went right over your head.

  27. Jason, the only way your argument went over his head is if your ass was perched above it. I suggest you read some information on Native cultures and learn what postmodernism means.

  28. Actually macon, Ee ve elle said it best. It really does just make you come across as brittle, sanctimonious jerk. And not all Native Americans feel that way. You can open dialogue without castigating people who more than likely are NOT thinking all the things you're blindly attributing to them. You're acting very, well.... white.

  29. Cloudy,

    Where did I say or imply that all Native Americans feel or think in one way? That would be a ridiculous, terrible thing for me to say, or even imply.

    As for sanctimonious jerkiness, I should have clarified in the original post that I said what I said to a particular friend, a person who already knows how I am about such things (and so, it actually did "open dialogue"). I wouldn't say such a thing, at least not in that way, to just anyone who blithely and sincerely wished me a "Happy Thanksgiving."

    So yes, I disagree with what you basically seem to be saying in this thread -- that because few Americans think about Thanksgiving in connection with Native Americans anymore, I should just drift along with America's selective, self-serving historical amnesia, and stop bringing up the ongoing connections that Americans of today still have to racialized theft, rape, genocide, and so on. I know that most Americans think I should just shut up and eat. But then, I usually resist floating along with the current; after all, dead fish do that, not live ones.

  30. Nubbies,
    I guarantee you I have read FAR more than you think I have. I understand postmodern theory well enough considering I have a masters in philosophy.

  31. Most of us are aware that the Thanksgiving story is not as cut and dry as "they" would have us believe so suggesting "happy thanksgiving" is a terrible thing to say was a wasted chance to have a nice exchange with someone.

  32. >> "If you look at the highest level of cultural development available to any culture of the time it was barely ethnocentric"

    Bwahahaha tell that to the Jews in 14th century Europe.

    >> "you are claiming to take the culture values that have only existed for the past hundred years and place them on top of the cultural values of 16/17th century cultures."

    No, I am saying that prejudice against (for example) women and a signficiant and growing conscious awareness of this existed in Europe prior to the invasion of the Americas. Christine de Pisan, for example. Less famously, Clare of Assisi. Or, from the other direction, when women started to act autonomously, (for example) the Church was very quick to stomp it out (using language that makes them sound like premodern MRAs, interestingly enough).

    I will grant that we can't talk about discrimination against "gays and lesbians" because there was no concept of "a gay man" or "a lesbian," but there were harsh consequences for acts considered to be sodomy. (Which I think was the actual point of the site quoted in the OP--I have a feeling that the website is written so as to be understand by regular people, meaning using terms common to today, not aimed exclusively at people who eat Dasein for breakfast. Which, IMHO, is a good thing).

    >> "I understand postmodern theory well enough considering I have a masters in philosophy."

    Well, given what you've said above, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you focused on Plato.

    Sorry for the tangent/derail, everyone.

  33. A very, VERY interesting and informative blog.
    I acknowledge, however, that the Holiday has evolved over time -- quite a lot. If we keep sharing information like this with others around us, I'm sure it'll evolve further to something more like a day of morning ... maybe "Native American Day" or the "Genocide of the Natives Day" or something like that.


  34. I'm going to have to agree with Cloudy. Refusing to celebrate Thanksgiving does absolutely nothing to help Native American people (who needs "solidarity" when you don't have running water?). I don't this is the intent, but it comes off as another way for White people to assuage their guilt about past events, basically making it more selfish than anything else. I think volunteering to feed the homeless, contributing to Native American scholarship funds, etc. any day are all worthwhile ways of spending Thanksgiving, but running around saying "Bah, humbug!" certainly won't get a pat on the back from me.

  35. You know what else white Americans do? And others, I guess--focus on one minor detail of a post on racism, so that they can ignore the rest of the post on racism.

    Look at how many readers here are hitting on macon for saying to one person (who seems to have taken it well) that "Happy Thanksgiving!" isn't the best thing to say. Actually, it's been a great demonstration of the point of this post--they're probably focusing on that minor detail as a way of ignoring the ugly lies and brutality buried beneath the fantasy of "Thanksgiving."

    I suppose they're well-trained Americans; they've been doing that for so long that it's become a habit.

  36. Huh, AE, I was under the assumption that I was biracial. Thanks for clearing that up for me, internet stranger!

  37. As a black person in the Afro- diaspora, If we have to change Thanksgiving altogether to accurately reflect the historical facts and not myths, I will support it. Things like these should not be brushed under the rug or simply be told to get over it. If full blooded Natives see this holiday as a Day of Mourning, I fully respect that and it should be recognized by America.

  38. I find it so interesting at how defensive people get when they are called out for just blindly celebrating a holiday that is rooted in the massacre of a nation of people. Look, we can't change that it happened, but we CAN talk openly and honestly about the injustice that is STILL happening on reservations all over the country. I, for one, am thankful to Macon for not letting this "holiday" go by without mentioning it.

  39. I'm still waiting for someone to explain to me how snapping at someone for saying "Happy Thanksgiving" is beneficial to Native American people. Someone in another post used the excellent word "slacktivism", and that's exactly what this sounds like to me. Find me someone who sat around the table on Thursday and said, "Let's give thanks for the pilgrims who came over and worked peacefully with the savage Injuns to tame this American wilderness" and then maybe I'll care. The recurring theme seems to be that people are always striving to be "right" (because I guess that winning over the hearts and minds of strangers on the internet is oh-so-important), but no one actually takes action. Let's all keep high-fiving each other for being "enlightened"--I'm sure the people living in poverty will appreciate it.

  40. Jasmine wondered how 'snapping at someone for saying "Happy Thanksgiving" is beneficial to Native American people.'

    I wonder how the opposite would be beneficial to Native American people?

    Sure, people who 'bah humbug' Thanksgiving may not be doing anything useful - but I can't really see how celebrating it is doing anything useful for Native American people either.

    Because I'm not sure that 'doing something useful for the Native Americans' is what Thanksgiving is about - it seems to be about the myths and stories we tell each other, rather than the actions we take in our daily lives.

    I for one see the value in questioning the myths.

    Nice post Macon.

  41. It may once have been about myths and stories, and this clings in the older generations, but it's now about turkey and family.

    And "slacktivism" really is a great word.

    Thanksgiving is very obviously not going away. One of the best things to do is to keep altering and coopting it until it's completely severed from the myths and stands alone as a simple harvest festival.

    And the very best thing to do is to actually DO something that actually HELPS Native Americans the other days of the year.

    Also, one needs to keep in mind that the mourning group is in New England, where the myths are pushed much more heavily as "local history". I think the locals there are much more likely to feel defensive than other parts of the US, which brings me back to what I said in an earlier posts: we need to change the schools. We need to stop teaching them to begin with, this will have a much greater and far-reaching effect than boycotting a holiday.

  42. Thanks for the post. Very eye-opening. And I feel like this shouldn't really be restricted to things white people do but things Americans of every race do. Whether we come from a European background or not, we still benefit from the history of discrimination and persecution against American Indians. We should all reflect.

  43. Macon,

    What's more mythical than the notion of genocide being committed against a "nation" of "Indians" AND this represents the Truth of Thanksgiving?

  44. One pedant point: The article mentions taking the Union Jack off the Mayflower's mast, but the Act of Union was only passed in 1707, 87 years after the Mayflower.

  45. Thordaddy,

    I'm not entirely sure what your comment meant but it sounds like you were 1. challenging the "nationhood" of the first peoples in what is now U.S. and 2. argueing semantics about the term "Indians" to refer to them.

    1. true, there was not a nation of Indians confronted with genocide. There was and is hundreds of nations in what is now the U.S. that faced and face genocide. There is a difference between nationhood and statehood.

    2. The debate about what to call the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas is a debate that I believe ought to be reserved for those people. Yes, "Indian" is a loaded term, but it is also a widely accepted term amongst large numbers of such people, for many reasons. (One such quote from a conference of North American First Nations that I cannot actually remember the specific who and when (help me out if anyone else heard this one) was something like, "We became Indians when they took our land, we'll be Indians until we take it back. After that we can call ourselves whatever the hell we want!") This is much the same as the Black vs. African-American debate or the gay vs. queer debate and others. Not everyone agrees entirely with one or the other term. If a specific person or people is requesting a specific term, hopefully that will be respected. Otherwise, I tend to trust that socially conscious people are trying to speak in a conscious way.

    I would prefer to acknowledge the bigger pictures that Macon is addressing rather than nitpick details as if we can actually speak for others. I'm guessing, Thordaddy, that from your name's reference to a northern European deity, that you are not a Native American.


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