Thursday, November 25, 2010

Lost In The Myth

Today is Thanksgiving Day, 2010. Back before the holiday became little more than the day of rest before the craziness that is the first official day of the Christmas shopping season, it was well, Thanksgiving. Original settlers from England held a feast to give thanks to God for the fact that they were still alive; it became a tradition, and eventually, it was made into a national holiday.

But despite the fact that there is a large part of the mythology of Thanksgiving devoted to the cooperation between the settlers and the Native Americans, and how the "Indians" were so instrumental in the survival of the colonists, it really seems to me that somewhere along the way, the natives have been forgotten. Of the six traditional continents that have nation-states on them, three of them have nations that come across as being by, for and of people who are native to the areas that they inhabit. North America is not one of them. The Native American population in the United States (I can't speak to Canada or Mexico, so I won't.) seems to be really marginal. Of all of the people that I've met that claim connection to the native population, all but one seemed to fall back on, in one way or another the One Drop Rule - they're 1/8th Cherokee or 3/64ths Blackfoot. Being some small amount Native American has become a mark of honor in some way - or a ticket to a slice of casino money; I'm not sure which. But these are people who don't live on reservations, out in the middle of nowhere on often marginal land, segregated from the mainstream of national society.

I don't know if I actually care more about the Native American population today than I did a week ago. Something tells me that I'm just fed up with the basic falsity of the mythology of the modern Thanksgiving holiday, and recalling the natives allows me to feel like less of an accessory after the fact.

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