Native American Heritage Day, the day after Thanksgiving, is a US national holiday that recognizes the contributions of the Indigenous First Nations of Native Americans.
Native American Heritage Day
We never heard of it until 2021, but it’s been a national holiday since 2008. Thank you President Bush.
Ironically, one of the greatest contributions of Native Americans is the structure of the US Government itself. That influence has been officially recognized by Congress.
Many Native American place names are still in use. Manhattan was originally Lenape “Manahatta.”
We Are Still Here
Many Americans of the United States have a distorted view of Native Americans.
The official story is that we were wiped out. The colonizers really tried, but it’s not true. We are still here. We have always been here. The reality is that men were killed and women were taken. So to put it politely, we were married in.
What an insult to have someone tell you to your face that you are dead.
Start With a 95% Death Rate
In Europe, people lived with domesticated animals. Animal diseases like smallpox had jumped to people, but the Europeans had developed immunity over time.
The colonization of what became the United States began with epidemics of European diseases that had a 95% kill rate. So there might be only one survivor from a community of twenty, and it happened in just a few years.
The Covid death rate is under 3% (vs 95%) and we are all aware of how much chaos Covid has caused.
Endless War is Sick
Weakened by epidemics, Native American communities were continually assaulted and betrayed. The United States Government and the US Army in particular committed genocide against Indigenous First Nations of Native Americans.
To justify their claim of empty land, free for the taking, the US Government just stopped counting Native Americans in the census. So we were here, but officially we were not. That’s the beginning of the “wiped out” story. The same thing was done in 2020 with the attempts to spoil the US census.
There was (and still is) endless pressure to be “European,” but even those who assimilated completely, such as Cherokee, were rounded up and death marched to Oklahoma in the dead of winter. That is the Trail of Tears of 1831. That is also the secret graves of Indigenous children now being found in religious schools across Canada and the U.S.
Europeans invented the “ever war.” The European Diaspora brought it to the Americas. Ever war continues to devil us. The traditional pattern was to demilitarize after a war, but we didn’t after World War II. We’ve basically been at war with the world ever since, and have lost every war since at great cost in blood and treasure, and to the people we are supposedly fighting “for.” Afghanistan was a prime example. Just as it was in Colonial America, the game is to get budget to abuse and kill people of color around the world. It’s a sick game.
Putting military into Indigenous populations is a disaster. While trying to settle St Augustine (the oldest European city in what became the United States), Spaniards sent a military expedition for several thousand miles through the Southeast. Everywhere they went, Indigenous societies collapsed after the terror of the Europeans’ extreme violence. The same thing happened in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.
And war comes home to us in mentally ill soldiers, many of whom become police who continue to abuse people of color. Ex-military are a key cause of gender, racial, and gun violence that are hallmarks of American culture.
When there is nobody left to fight, old soldiers fight their own. And you can carry that all the way to the US Capitol. There is a direct line from the senseless racial violence of Colonial America to January 6, 2021.
I Will Fight No More Forever
Nez Perce Chief Joseph (Ned Romero) was the leader of the last free Native Americans. He kept trying to avoid the fight, but the US Army chased the Nez Perce all over the Northwest. They were finally forced to surrender just miles from the freedom of the Canadian border. On October 5, 1877, Chief Joseph spoke:
“I am tired of fighting
Our chiefs are killed.
Looking Glass is dead.
Toohulhulsote is dead.
The old men are all dead.
It is the young men who say no and yes.
He who led the young men is dead.
It is cold and we have no blankets.
The little children are freezing to death.
My people, some of them, have run away to the hills and have no blankets, no food.
No one knows where they are.
Perhaps they are freezing to death.
I want to have time to look for my children and see how many of them I can find.
Maybe I shall find them among the dead.
Hear me, my chiefs, I am tired.
My heart is sad and sick.
From where the sun now stands.
I will fight no more forever.”
The military uses the flag of patriotism to cover extreme mayhem and violence. But if the red, white and blue stands for anything, how can it be this?
How do We Celebrate Native American Heritage Day?
This is not a happy Thanksgiving story, but it is what happened. The Thanksgiving tale of a happy meal shared by Native Americans and pilgrims is propaganda designed to cover the European Diaspora’s thievery, rape and murder.
We can’t change the past, but we can change how we relate to it. We grew up believing the happy Thanksgiving story we were taught as children, but it’s 2021. You can’t say you didn’t know. It’s time to recover the heritage of all Americans, especially the Indigenous First Nations of Native Americans.