You don’t have to be a student of history to find the truth behind all the turkey and football games.
The truth was buried at Wounded Knee, and is silenced in federal prison cells. The truth is in the pieces of granite chipped away from the Black Hills. The truth is in town and state names, and in the silent halls of the old government boarding schools. The truth was in the terrified eyes of the women and children who were scalped by settler-colonists and soldiers alike.
The truth is buried with the bones of ancestors beneath shopping malls, city halls and town squares, beneath universities and prisons, beneath meth labs, liquor stores, and army recruitment offices. The truth is in the polluted, pockmarked-earth left behind after the gold, copper, oil, and coal were hauled away by peasants to make businessmen wealthier.
The truth is in the prayers of the Lakota and Dakota water protectors, it is in the radiated sands of Alamogordo, and in the red dirt washing from Kaho’olawe into the Pacific each time it rains.
The truth can be found in books like An Indigenous Peoples‘ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, which challenges the founding myth of the United States. It shows how, from day one, indigenous people actively resisted the expanding empire, and were massacred from sea to shining sea.
The truth is in the heart of Wampanoag territory on the 4th Thursday of November each year, as some of the survivors of the indigenous holocaust gather around a tiny stone known as Plymouth Rock to honor their ancestors for what is known as the National Day of Mourning. These survivors don’t have post-traumatic stress, their trauma is on going, much like colonized people everywhere. It is a daily struggle as what little remains of their sacred land is taken from them piecemeal, as the empire sees fit.
We should give thanks every single day, but Thanksgiving day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of indigenous people, the theft of their lands, and the endless assault on their culture. The fourth Thursday of November should be a day of remembrance and spiritual connection as well as a protest of the racism and oppression which indigenous people, and people of color continue to experience in Plymouth, and around the world. I refuse to give thanks for genocide, colonization, and occupation.