Thanksgiving: Celebrating the Genocide of Native Americans
By Gilbert Mercier
NEWS JUNKIE POSTNov 25, 2010 at 8:22 am
The sad reality about the United States of America is that in a matter of a few hundreds years it has managed to rewrite its own history into a mythological fantasy. The concepts of liberty, freedom and free enterprise in the “land of the free, home of the brave” are a mere spin. America was founded and became prosperous based on two “original sins”: First, the murder of Native Americans and theft of their land by European colonialists; second, slavery. This grim reality is far removed from the fairytale version of a nation that views itself in its collective consciousness as a virtuous universal agent for good and progress. The most recent version of this mythology was expressed by Ronald Reagan when he said that “America is a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere.”
In rewriting its own history about Thanksgiving, white America tells a Disney-like fairytale story about the English pilgrims and their struggle to survive in a new and harsh environment. The pilgrims found help from the friendly Native American tribe, the Wampanoag Indians, in 1621. But unfortunately for Native Americans the thankfulness of European settlers was very short-lived. By 1637, Massachusetts governor John Winthrop ordered the massacre of thousands of Pequot Indian men, women and children. This event marked the start of the Native American genocide which would take a bit more than 200 years to complete, and of course to achieve its ultimate goal, which was to take the land from Native Americans and systematically plunder their resources. The genocide, started in 1637, marks the beginning of the conquest of the entire continent until Native Americans were either exterminated for most, assimilated into white society for very few, or put in reservations to dwindle and die.
In other words, celebrating Thanksgiving is as if Germany had a day of celebration for the Holocaust. Thanksgiving is the American Holocaust. The original crimes of genocide and slavery are not limited to United States early history but have found an extension in the current policies of modern-day America. The systematic assault on other nations and cultures is still going on today under various pretenses or outright lies. The United States wars of empire are going on today more than ever before. They have left millions of people dead across the world in the course of American history, and they are still fought for the same reasons behind the Native American genocide and slavery: namely, to expand the wealth of the United States elite.
Defenders of Thanksgiving will say that whatever the original murky meaning of the holiday was, it has now become a rare chance to spend time with family and show appreciation for what one has. However, for most Americans today it is hard to be thankful. As matter of fact, unless you belong to the 2 percent representing the United States ruling class you should not be thankful at all. How can you be appreciative for what you have if you lost your house to foreclosure, don’t have a job and can’t feed your family? How can you be appreciative if you are a homeless veteran? How can you be appreciative living in a society with no social justice when you are poor or sick? Today rich celebrities and politicians will make a parody of what should be real charity by feeding the countless poor and homeless, and it will ease their conscience, at least for a while. But charity should not be a substitute for social justice, and just to ruin some people’s appetites before attacking that golden turkey; keep in mind that today we are celebrating a genocide.
- April 11, 2011 -- US Empire: American Exceptionalism Is No Shining City On A Hill
- November 24, 2011 -- Thanksgiving For What? 46.2 Million Americans Are Living in Poverty
- November 19, 2012 -- India: Can Ecosocialism Protect Indigenous People from Capitalist Exploitation?
- November 11, 2012 -- Veterans Day: Will We Ever Overcome the Collective Madness of War?
- September 6, 2010 -- Is Poverty The Future Of America’s Middle Class?