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Thanksgiving thoughts in a pandemic

Today is Thanksgiving, which if we’ve read our history we know is a time of mourning. I mean let’s face it celebrating the genocide of a group of people that was here in the land a group of settlers “discovered” feels a little disturbing. I mean, nothing was discovered, there were people already here, as in the land you and I are living on. The land people generations ago took from the indigenous communities who called it home.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t stuff our faces today. In fact, I’m all for any excuse to do just that. It’s just that we shouldn’t celebrate the pilgrims and all that other fairytale crap. There’s no good reason to get your family together to celebrate indiscriminate slaughter because it was more convenient than respecting the sovereignty of the indigenous we pushed out. Doubly so when there is a pandemic going on.

Social norms, they are a bitch. We celebrate all sorts of weird and screwed up shit because our parents, parents, parents celebrated them. Companies mass market them and hell we even have company sponsored parades, because why the fuck not. That’s probably half the problem when we ask people to stay home for the pandemic, people are selfish and want to do what they’ve always done.

Yes, we’re mixing messages today. One that we shouldn’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the traditional sense, the other we shouldn’t celebrate Thanksgiving in traditional ways because of the pandemic. Similar messages, yet not quite.

The problem with the first is that people will often say, “oh I didn’t force indigenous communities onto reservations, slaughter, and rape their people, why should I feel bad?” To that I say, why should you ignore the history? It’s one thing to not feel responsible, it’s a whole other thing to pretend it didn’t happen. To not acknowledge this history. To sit by as land that is specifically designated for these communities gets eroded to nothing, today, right now, as we speak oil lines are being laid under rivers and lakes that are part of these communities. Sacred sites are being destroyed to make a quick dollar. Yet, we can’t even do the bare minimum and say, “hey we see you and this is not right.”

A similar strategy is being applied to the pandemic. If we ignore it, it will go away. It’s interesting to see the parallels between the two lines of thought especially on a day like today where they intersect. People throw their hands up and pretend like they can’t do anything to prevent the spread of the disease, so why try? Sounds a lot like the reasons people refuse to acknowledge the struggles of indigenous communities. In this case we’re literally asking you to do LESS. Don’t visit family, stay home, protect yourself and your loved ones by limiting your exposure. Literally all you have to do is nothing at home!

That’s why we’re talking about both today. Because at the end of the day the hardest thing for me to accept is that in both cases people are okay with indiscriminate slaughter to avoid mild inconvenience. What is the value of one life? What about a thousand, a hundred thousand? Does it even matter if you don’t have to look them in the eye as you kill people?

We were founded on the racist and hateful foundation of, “let’s ignore the inconvenient in favor of comfort from ignorance.” It’s frustrating and frankly angering to see that foundation still alive and well today. To those of you doing your part to stay safe this Thanksgiving, thank you. To the indigenous communities who hold the weight of generations of neglect and outright torture, I see you, I’m sorry, and I wish I could do more than attend protests. You deserve better.


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