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Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

November 17, 2008

Addressing a comment

I got a comment posted today that I thought I would address. I don't do this to be confrontational, but I could see it being taken as such so I wanted to state for the record that that is not the intent. I had posted some time back about whether I was missing something in how we seemed to have skipped the entire Thanksgiving season. Today I got this post from a friend, neighbor and fellow blogger:

Happy "Native America Genocide Day!"
Sorry to be the wet sheet, many "American Indians" or "Native Americans" (such as myself) feel that if our forefathers hadn't held the first Thanksgiving, we might not have gone through the culling and near extermination that the settlers forced upon the native peoples.
Another common sentiment among native peoples is that our proverbial olive branch and welcoming gesture that was the First Thanksgiving was not reciprocated by the white settlers, and was answered with deceit and (despite what is force-fed to our children in public schools).
Anyhow, not trying to put a damper on anyone's holiday celebrations, just bringing up another point of view.
- http://www.joelevi.com/


To a point I know where he's coming from. I mean, our U.S. history is littered with the remnants of many cultures, not the least of which is the Native American Indians. They were in large part a trusting people when the visitors from overseas came to their shores and yes, they were mistreated, abused, killed and removed from their native lands in many cases. It is a black mark on American History.
It's not the only one though is it? What about slavery? How about the way that nearly every group of immigrants has been persecuted when they first arrived? Even the Irish were considered inferior to Anglo Americans and called unassimilatable into US culture once upon a time.

So what's my point, to ignore the plight on our Native American population because "hey, other groups had it hard too?" No. My point is that the greater promise of America, in my opinion, does not lie in rehashing our failures of the past. I wouldn't expect my children, who are of easily traceable Irish descent, to hold a grudge against their country because their ancestors were relegated to the worst jobs. I don't believe in allowing ones name, or race to hold them back either. The only boundaries we have in our way that can truly impede us are the ones we place there ourselves. No, I believe in fact that the greatest promise the America holds and the reason that day after day and year after year there are people from around the globe clamouring to get in here, is that we have the ability to admit our mistakes, do our best to correct them, and even more so, we have the unique gift of largely being able to decide for ourselves what it is that we will be able to attain.

The Irish, Italian and Asian communities (among others) have overcome the prejudices that were in their way. The children of black slaves have opportunities that their grandparents could only have dreamed of, to include of course the attaining of the highest office. And for myself, son of a poor kid who's Dad pushed him to do better for himself and, oh yeah, a direct descendant of Native Americans as well, I'm pretty proud of my country even with it's mistakes.

So just as Christmas has evolved from it's early Christian/pagan origins and became what it is today. (Minus of course the over-commercializing of it. That's another story.) So too has Thanksgiving evolved. Most people celebrate Thanksgiving today, with exception to the "token pilgrim/Indian decorations", not as a time of thanks for being welcomed to this continent, or celebration for the way the native population was wronged in the process, but rather as a time to give thanks to their God and their family for the blessings that they have. Thanks for the time we have to spend together, and to give to others of their time and their bounty.

So, that's my opinion on the matter. As stated, I don't mean to be confrontational, but it's my blog and while I will not edit (with obvious exception of spam or vulgarity) the comments left here, I can't say that I will agree with them all. Nor will I sit quietly all the time.
Thank you.
P~

6 comments:

Susy said...

Well said. I agree. We try to focus on being thankful for the relationships we have been blessed with as well as the material possessions.

Joe Levi said...

P~,

Thank you for front-paging my comment and for adding your insight and point of view.

I debated for some time whether or not to post said comment, but finally did so because of what's happening in the current financial and political environments.

Revisionist history is erasing the story of "how we got here" with a propagandist agenda. (That's fodder for another post, so I'll stay on point.)

Our grade-school textbooks and tradition tell us one thing about Native Americans and the first Thanksgiving, without telling the whole story. Telling that whole story has a much more profound effect. That was my intent.

This time of year, my family and I reflect on the history that almost wiped out our peoples, and we give thanks for extending the olive branch in a token of friendship.

But we remember the full history, and vow to keep a wary eye and not let the same thing happen again -- to ANY race, religion, or group of people.

When history begins to forget the details, we serve as a reminder so that we (all humanity) aren't doomed to repeat that history.

- www.JoeLevi.com

Joe Levi said...

Not trying to monopolize the conversation, but after re-reading your post I agree with your post even more.

Regardless of ethnicity, of religion, or creed, this especially is a time for us as individuals, families, and neighbors, to bond closer together.

To be ever vigilant of the strife of others and help out when we can.

This is what America has lost in its urban sprawl, what we used to have with rural communities, and what I think you're helping to foster here. Your readers may not be as geographically close as you and I are, but from all the comments I've read, you're building that small-town closeness here on your blog.

Thank you for that, and thank you for your continued friendship!

- www.JoeLevi.com

MeadowLark said...

OK, as a troublemaker I am going to just ask - Joe, I have a feeling you'll have a well-thought-out answer for me, or at least I hope.

Hasn't the entire world been settled by "taking over" other areas? I mean, I thought the Romans did it, the Germans did it, the English and so on and so on and so on, throuhgout history.

Yes, it would suck to be somebody who's ancestors were taken over. I know that the Irish side of my family pretty much got their asses kicked and that's why they ended up in the US.

So I guess my question is... at what point do we say "We are bad people because we conquered someone else" and at what point do we say "viva la conquerors?".

(please don't take this post wrong, please don't take this post wrong. I'm truly just trying to understand)

Robbyn said...

Very thoughtful post! I think a lot of folks don't realize there was essentially no regular "Thanksgiving" for over 200 years after the first one, which was designed to give thanks basically for survival of a fragile group who'd been blessed with bounty during the yearly harvest. A lot of religions have harvest-related festivals of thanks at that same time. I am rather a mutt, with native american, scots-irish, sephardic Jewish, and english ancestors. I think being an american is a messy business, but if we strive to co-exist with neighbors "not like us" while not forgetting yet learning from our own histories, we find so many things for which to be thankful... :) I know that sounds awfully "PC" but I so appreciate that some progress has been made despite the obvious injustices that should never be forgotten. I agree we should look beyond revisionist history and find the truth. And then learn from it. And give thanks for the good we can find :)

Jason & Jackie said...

Be Thankful for NOW and that we can change our future