Wednesday, November 23, 2011

THANKSGIVING~~ AND PRAYERS FOR NATIVE AMERICANS


 
I do not set aside a specific day to give thanks for what  all the blessings I have in life. In fact ~~ each day is a day of Thanksgiving for me. There has always been a dark side to this Holiday and it never is mentioned in circles outside of Native Americans who were the victims at the hands of the Europeans as the largest genocide in the history of mankind. Number of murdered range from 20 to 40 million humans slaughtered in the name of greed. They were murdered by diseases and  guns.

  The following comes from a post from "Voice of Golden Eagle.com"

"People are often surprised when they learn that many Native Americans consider the Thanksgiving holiday in the USA to be a national day of mourning and have for nearly 40 years. Some observe the date with a day of quiet remembrance, prayer and even fasting.
I am one.

A BIT OF BACKGROUND

To gain more understanding of the holiday, you need to know the unvarnished truth about the original Thanksgivings. Most of us grew up being taught to associate the holiday with happy Pilgrims and Indians sitting down to a big feast. And that did happen – once… But there’s much more to the story.

The tale actually begins back in 1614 when a band of English explorers attacked the local Patuxet Indians who had welcomed them to Massachusetts Bay. They then sailed home to England with a hold full of Natives bound for slavery. During their visit these explorers also spread smallpox which virtually wiped out those who had been lucky enough to escape the slave ship.

THE GOOD

By the time the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts Bay they found only one living Patuxet Indian remaining in the village, a man named Squanto, who fortunately knew how to speak English. He taught them to grow corn and to fish (which saved them from starvation that first winter), and he negotiated a peace treaty between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Nation. At the end of their first year, the Pilgrims held a great feast honoring Squanto and the Wampanoags.

THE BAD

But as word spread in England about the paradise to be found in the new world, religious zealots called Puritans began arriving by the boat load. Finding no fences around the land, they considered it to be in the public domain. Joined by other British settlers, they seized property, captured strong young Natives for slaves and killed the rest indiscriminately.

THE UGLY

The Pequot Nation had not officially agreed to the peace treaty Squanto had negotiated and they fought back against the injustices. The Pequot War was one of the bloodiest Indian wars ever fought.

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 the Pequot 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. The next day the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared “A Day Of Thanksgiving” because 700 unarmed men, women and children had been murdered.

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.

GIVING THANKS FOR BLOODSHED

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.

WHAT ALL THIS MEANS FOR US TODAY

This story doesn’t have quite the same fuzzy feelings associated with it as the one you were told in school where the Indians and Pilgrims all sat down together at the big feast… But we need to learn our true history – the good, the bad, and the ugly – so the mistakes won’t be repeated.

I realize a National Day of Mourning will never be able to compete with a holiday table full of delights served by grandma and that’s ok too. No one is asking you to change the holiday rituals you hold dear, whatever they may be. It’s ALWAYS good to be thankful and come together with loved ones, regardless of the occasion. But, this Thanksgiving, when you gather with your friends and family to Thank Creator for all your many blessings, think also about these things you have just heard here and understand, with a little more compassion, the sad history that this holiday holds for many people.  My people.

Witsatologi nihi – Many Blessings To You!"

As I have said in earlier posts, While I may not have Native American blood in my veins, my spirit is Native American. It dates back to my Native American babysitter when I was 7 years old. It was not coincidental that I have befriended Native Americans all my life. I now clearly  understand what my role is in this life and being connected with our first people is one of them. 

We must never forget so this never happens again.

A Prayer for our first people:

O Creator of all things: reveal the path of  love for all people, regardless of past and present. Teach us the path of forgiveness. Teach us the courage to forgive, teach us to let go ~~ so our spirit is no longer in  a cage of anger and is let go to be free. 

AHO amen




May your Cornucopia of life be fulled with Health, Love and Peace


2 comments:

  1. Stephen,

    I read once "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional". We cannot change the past. No make up can cover the wounds on the Native American people. The same applies to Brazil.
    BUT, there is room for many thanks too. It depends on how we look to the past.
    The Thanksgiving Day doesn't have to be the Celebration of Pilgrims. Nor the Day of Mourning.
    It can be viewed as a landmark. The beginning of a people's resistance. Because, despite all the massacres,the slaughter, the deaths... the Native Americans still live.
    They are still resisting for more than 500 years of domination, poverty, abuse and negligence.
    The Thanksgiving Day is a day to celebrate life, resistance and hope for the future.

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  2. Bravo my cherished friend. In South American there also has been such atrocities and in fact all over the world. Yes, Thanksgiving is a day not just remembering the past and being thankful for what was given to the Pilgrims after suffering so getting to American ~~ But also to be thankful for what we have today. One hopes that gratitude for good health , Love and Peace are the possessions we can be thankful for.

    I do believe, however that history books in North American do not reveal in its entirety the worst Genocide in the history of mankind. A dark time for North America. All victims of such atrocities around the world should set aq day aside to remember, The Jews, Armenians, etc. acknowledge a day for Remembrance. Why ? one may ask. ~~ because it must never happen again and in doing so, no victim believes we are trying to change the past, just secure the future for our Grandchildren and their children.

    We are blessed by enlighten souls like you who inspire us to search deep inside to find the love and peace for all our fellow man and living creatures who share the air we breath!

    With much Love and Light to you!

    Stephen

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