I want it to be abundantly clear that my post yesterday was not a salvo in some War on Thanksgiving. I abundantly love this feast of abundance - as my girth can attest. I love spending time with family. I love turkey. I love tryptophan and naps. And sweet potato and pumpkin pies. And NFL games somewhere playing in the fray.
But history needs to be acknowledged in full. Too many of our friends and neighbors and cousins have suffered too long because we are too full of ourselves to acknowledge that we and our families have done and do bad things.
A friend found my last post to be too anti-Thanksgiving. Granted, the story within the story does seem awfully harsh. I do not, however, apologize for another writer's excesses (if that's how one wants to describe them as). If that's how Robert Jensen feels, that's how he feels. I have no qualms nor arguments therein. I also would not be angry with various indigenous tribes people who also felt a need to not acknowledge the Thanksgiving tradition in this country as some sort of benevolent or good remembrance. After all, do we recognize their fests, let alone their sufferings? Can one enjoy one without sharing the other?
I however, would like to talk about our history as a means of redeeming ourselves, rather than the lazy work of redemptive 'history' that's been making its way through the Great American Redemptive Mythos.
This, then, is my response to my friend:
If the blog comes across as anti-Thanksgiving, that is my error in message control. I'll have to check and edit then.
My intention, however, wasn't to butcher the day - one of my favorites - but to highlight a much-neglected context.
If I heard correctly, Winthrop hosted a second large Thanksgiving feast fifteen years after the initial one to thank God for their successful campaign against the lpcal tribes*. We need to tell our history straight. It needs to include both the inclusion and the exclusion, welcoming and murder, community and violence.
To do less is to do a disservice to our heritage and to neglect our current DNA as well as its majestic and horrible potential.
We can begin to remedy the situation by taking simple steps. Like spreading support for current laws to support current tribes, such as the H.R. 1385:
Please sign this petition.
*To be fair, preliminary research has not led me to believe that this story is true, either. Story revoked. Genocide, however, is true. And THAT story needs to be told.