Friday, October 25, 2013

Be Careful Who You Wish A Happy Thanksgiving To

Sometimes I find it awfully difficult to be sensitive to the opions of those around me. For instance, it isn't a good idea to ask a Harley Davidson owner if his ride is a Honda or a Chevy man's truck is a Ford. If you're not up on the latest mechanical or political marvels in the setting you're in, it is probably best to remain silent.

A Native friend and I had a pleasant conversation about Thanksgiving after talking about Halloween for a bit. He had no problem with the holiday and his family celebrated it like just about everyone else did. He was probably in his fifties.

The next day, having no thought of offending anyone, I wished another Indigenous man the same greeting and listened to a five minute tirade about how the tribes had been murdered by the invading Whites and why the so-called celebration was sacreligious and the beginning of the end of a way of life in the Americas. The fellow was all of about twenty-five years old and obviously well-coached in this area of history by some blogger lurking behind a desk somewhere.

He must have read different accounts of the original story than I did, although I'm sure that some of the brutality was true here or there and not well reported. I kept wondering why the Indians would bring food to a dinner party and hang around these strange Europeans with weird clothes and teach them how to grow crops, hunt and fish if they were being murdered. They were too smart to let that happen.

There are plenty of stories about atrocities to different tribes over time. The Whites were often greedy and fearful and starving. A lot didn't make it past the first winter after landing.

It seems to me that there was initially a good-faith effort by tribes and settlers to get along together. The settlers needed the help of the tribes to survive until they learned to do it on their own. After that happened, then all bets were off and that is were the tragic Native stories really began in earnest and the colonists became scavengers migrating west.

I'm sure my hypothesis carries no weight, whatsoever. However, I'm way older than twenty-five and something in my Cherokee and Kickapoo blood yells baloney to some who try to poke a sleeping bear with a sharp stick and expect others to mindlessly do the same.

Don't even get me started on sports mascots!


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