Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Yasukuni and Thanksgiving

'Thanksgiving' did not begin as a great loving relationship between the
pilgrims and the Wampanoag, Pequot and Narragansett people. In fact,
in October of 1621 when the 'pilgrim' survivors of their first winter in
Turtle Island sat down to share the first unofficial 'Thanksgiving' meal,
the Indians who were there were not even invited! There was no turkey,
squash, cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie. A few days before this alleged
feast took place, a company of 'pilgrims' led by Miles Standish actively
sought the head of a local Indian leader, and an 11 foot high wall was
erected around the entire Plymouth settlement for the very purpose of
keeping Indians out! Officially, the holiday we know as 'Thanksgiving'
actually came into existence in the year 1637. Governor Winthrop of the
Massachusetts Bay Colony proclaimed this first official day of Thanksgiving
and feasting to celebrate the return of the colony's men who had arrived
safely from what is now Mystic, Connecticut. They had gone there to
participate in the massacre of over 700 Pequot men, women and children,
and Mr. Winthrop decided to dedicate an official day of thanksgiving
complete with a feast to 'give thanks' for their great 'victory'....

On occasion, we pay a more direct cost; censorship. In 1970, for example , the Massachusetts Department of Commerce asked the Wampanoags to select a speaker to mark the 350th anniversary of the Philgrims' landing. Frank James "was selected, but first he had to show a copy of his speech to the white people in charge of the ceremony. When they say what had written, they would not allow him to read it.
James had written:
Today is a time of celebrating for you...but it is not at time of celebration for me . It is with heavy heart that I look back upon what happened to my people.....The Pilgrims had hardly explored the shores of Cape Cod four days before they had robbed the graves of my ancestors, and stolen their corn, what and beans....Massasoit, the great leader of the Wampanoog knew these facts; yet he and his people welcomed and befriended the settlers..., little knowing that ,....before 50 years were to pass, the Wampannoags....and other Indians living near the settlers would be killed by their guns or dead from diseases that we caught from them ...Although our way of life is almost gone and our language is almost extinct, we the Wampanoags still walk the lands of Massachusetts.....What has happened cannot be changed, but today we work toward a better America, a more Indian America where people and nature once again are important.
(page 96 lies teacher told me, James W. Loewen

A horrible history distortion is going on about Thanksgiving.

But let me relate this distortion to the issue of Yasukuni..

Are people cerebrating the massacre?
Does people have no right to cerebrate the Thanksgiving because history has been horribly distorted?
Does President have no right to cerebrate Thanksgiving in private capacity because history has been distorted offensively?

It is one thing to tell the accurate story, it is another to respect the practice people are committed to. In this respect I think this Indian American person shows the mature judegement:
I see nothing wrong with
gathering with family to give thanks to our Creator for our blessings and
sharing a meal. I do, however, hope that Americans as a whole will one
day acknowledge the true origin of this holiday, and remember the pain,
loss, and agony of the Indigenous people who suffered at the hands of
the so-called 'pilgrims'.Mistakes, Lies & Misconceptions
about American Indian people

No comments: