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Intro: "As xenophobia sweeps over the US, it's a good time to remember what the holiday is supposed to mean."

A Muslim-American child carries a flag at a rally, 05/09/08. (photo: Unspecified)
A Muslim-American child carries a flag at a rally, 05/09/08. (photo: Unspecified)

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+13 # BUD Weiss 2010-11-24 23:34
Please get your history straight. Read this re Thanksgiving as the national day of mourning for indigenous people:
http://www.countercurrents.org/us-wampsutta231106.htm
And this re how we got our constitution from the Iroquois which is not taught in our schools for sad reasons.
http://www.iroquoisdemocracy.pdx.edu/html/assessment.htm
 
 
+7 # DaveW. 2010-11-25 10:55
Bud Weiss, I agree.The author of this piece needs to get the history straight. "It was a day when native born Americans welcomed undocumented immigrants here in search of work and religious freedom with benevolence and goodwill." There haven't been many of those days.Every subsequent immigrant group coming into the country,especia lly and perversely, those of color have been "treated" to the same "welcome,reject ion,exclusion" mentality as the those who came before them. African-America ns were enslaved and still face discriminatory practices in many areas today. Hispanics were robbed of their ancestral lands by a "fabricated" Mexican War and land speculators who tricked them with deceptive documents written in a "foreign" tongue.Native Americans,the "original" Americans were slaughtered and herded like animals into holding pens/reservatio ns.Red Cloud said it best."The white man made us many promises. He only kept one.He promised to take our lands.He took them." Chinese immigrant labor is largely responsible for the railroads that first crossed the country.His reward:The Chinese exclusion Act of 1881.Japanese-A mericans were "interred" in barbed wire camps in WW11.God Bless America?
 
 
+13 # Margery Coffey 2010-11-25 00:10
It should also be noted that the Native Americans brought most of the food and vastly outnumbered the remaining pilgrims. It is a Native American custom to give thanks and while this may have been a "first Thanksgiving" from the standpoint of white America, it was not the first Thanksgiving for the real natives of this country. The concept of giving thanks is an basic part of Native American religious practices for well over several thousands of years before the "first" Thanksgiving we celebrate today.
 
 
+13 # Phillip 2010-11-25 00:26
If we all thought the same way, no one would need to think at all.

Celebrate difference. Celebrate each other. Embrace difference. Embrace each other.

Happy Thanksgiving!
 
 
+6 # maddy 2010-11-25 02:42
It was the Bush Regime who push the hiterian policies upon us, thus the bigotry towards Muslims, in which Obama seems to continue, --and how many were at the first thanksgiving thinking in a conning way as how to eliminate the natives and take their land??
Do our leaders really want peace now, or ever,-- when at the moment have congered up another war and place blame?
 
 
+12 # Ninure 2010-11-25 04:33
I really don't think you want to use the interaction of Europeans and Native Americans as an example of how good immigration is!!

If the Native Peoples had been a little less welcoming to the "immigrants", they might still exist today!!
 
 
+4 # Robert Griffin 2010-11-26 16:36
They still do exist today, but in far fewer numbers.
 
 
-14 # Di,Cerrillos,NM 2010-11-25 05:55
The author may feel warm and fuzzy now but the readers know the truth. That was then and this is now and the world is very complicated and we need to rethink our policies in favor of survival of our nation. The Constitution is in need of revamp to reflect this millenium. Wasting energy assigning blame doesn't solve the problems or move us forward.
 
 
+11 # Cara 2010-11-25 09:17
This is the kind of separtist, save your self and the heck with everyone else thinking that has gotten us in trouble with the rest of the world. We are everyone else if not for the luck of the draw. Once you start thinking of yourself as seperate from everyone you put a target on your back for thinking you're better or different from others. We have to start excepting that talking, listening,openi ng our hearts, and understanding is the way out of the mess we're in, not changing the constitution and putting up a "stranges not welcome" sign on our county's door.
 
 
+8 # bjw 2010-11-25 09:31
Ignoring the past transgressions does not solve problems or move us forward,either. It requires recognition of those transgressions and some attempt to make restitution before there can be forgiveness and reconciliation. When people just want to forget and move forward, they are not ready to accept they have done wrong and will just keep doing it as long as they can get away with it. No,it's not that complicated.
 
 
+8 # Dan Fletcher 2010-11-25 13:00
Destroying our Constitution won't move us forward either. This is now. We are the reigning terrorist nation of this earth. This is now. What you might call a matter of blame is actually a matter of fact. This is now. When we were helpless and needed our hosts to help us survive, they provided. We repayed in acts of genocide nearly destroying them. We continue the ethic of taking as though it were ours alone, the resources of the earth and will destroy anyone that will interfere with our plunder. This is now. Blame? Try JUSTICE for a change. Never mind blame. As for the complications of the world, what is simple is that we are a pariah and if the earth had any sense it would quarantine, even destroy, the parasite we've become. This is now. What we should be thankful for is that justice has not prevailed and we have been allowed to survive despite the supreme justifications for our being punished for our hubris and greed. What would move the world forward would be the containment of our cruelty...at the very least...NOW.
 
 
+13 # Interested Observer 2010-11-25 06:12
Big Mistake. According to the recent documentary We Shall Remain, the natives welcomed the Pilgrims, with some trepidation, in hopes of securing a valuable ally in their ongoing struggle with other more powerful groups in the area. Within 50 years their new "ally" had marginalized them and annihilated their more powerful adversary to the west by means of a deliberate war of conquest, if not genocide. But their motives were not merely a naive outpouring of the milk of human kindness as usually portrayed but a calculated risk that turned out very badly for them. I have long thought that native Americans on both continents erred gravely by not slaughtering every expeditionary party, especially armed forces. missionaries and settlers, from the start, as those people would have done, and in the name of God, with the positions reversed. However, more and meaner would have come and unless the native could also assimilate or even improve the invader's technology the outcome would have been much the same if slower, and probably more savage and genocidal in the end as manifest destiny rolled out into the new promised land.
 
 
+8 # donna P 2010-11-25 09:15
I guess we will never know because the meanest is here! The ones with the weapons win and it is still true today. We have not evolved an iota. The gun mentality still rules the stinking stagnant! We are still monkeys
 
 
+7 # Foxtrottango 2010-11-25 12:15
Donna, I agree with everything you say here, but please, please do not insult the monkeys whom, by the way, have more morals and family values than anyone in the Republican Party, Christian or otherwise!

The truth might be is, human meanest have peaked during the last elections, and it's not surprising that it could only happen in Christian USA. America has become an evil nation, a danger to all humanity.

It's hard to admit, being American of Hispanic and native American lineage and serving in two wars to justify the democracy (so they told us) and now we are witnessing the most ignorant, arrogant, bigotry and hatred conservative individuals that only happened once in the last century with Germany, a nation who was perhaps the most advanced, the most educated and the most admired culturally and by one vote they decided to give their loyalty to evil in the form of the Nazi Party (their swastiska was, after all, a bent cross of hatred and evil) and in doing so, they forfeited their place of honor in history for thousands of years! It seem the USA is doing the same. The only difference is, Germany learned of it's past mistakes, the USA hasn't!
 
 
+4 # Dan Fletcher 2010-11-25 13:05
Quoting donna P:
I guess we will never know because the meanest is here! The ones with the weapons win and it is still true today. We have not evolved an iota. The gun mentality still rules the stinking stagnant! We are still monkeys

As long as might makes right and what is just doesn't actually matter in any practical way...as most of the most powerful will tacitly agree...I suspect you are quite right.
 
 
+8 # bjw 2010-11-25 09:39
It's a good day to read the speech Tecumseh gave in 1811 to the leaders of the Five Civilized Tribes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tecumseh
 
 
+4 # Dan Fletcher 2010-11-25 13:04
The "best" don't always win. History reveals this. While native Americans are and were as mortal and fallible as the rest of us, and the myth of the noble savage is exactly that, a myth, it can be said that the west prevailing over native Americans brought no improvement worthy of the cost. Can't civilization progress without the continued destruction of the hands that feed it? I wonder.
 
 
+4 # DaveW. 2010-11-25 19:37
Dan, "Can't civilization progress without the continued destruction of the hands that feed it?" I don't think so. Not at this stage of our evolutionary development. Superior ambition breeds superior ability. We "want" more because we have the ability to get it. Animals are primarily concerned with survival although, they too, establish hierarchies. Yet, survival, the ability to live and raise their young is principal concern in most cases. Man, on the other hand, with his superior abilities has no limits on his ambition. All of us who are not in the upper tax brackets have talked disparagingly of the wealthy at some time or another. Yet, how many of us desire to join them in their "what me, worry about money" environment? The poor man wants to be a rich man and the rich man wants to be a King. The Native Americans or the "noble savage" as you put it were certainly more "noble" in their attempts to find common ground with the white man. In many ways the white man has debauched nearly everything and everybody he has come into contact with. You and I live on the declining apex of empire. But are we ready to renounce our participation in it to live where we might be needed more?
 
 
+3 # Dan Fletcher 2010-11-26 23:23
Thank you David for your brilliant question (last sentence) and the opportunity it gives me to answer it. The answer "YES" a thousand times "YES"!!!! That is precisely why I am in graduate school in a socially relevant major that will pay very, very modestly in the end...less than I've made in the past before I quit in disgust. I have EVERY intention of living a life I can be proud of, at the loss of considerable income PRECISELY because I value my soul and my integrity far more than wealth. I would take spiritual wealth over material wealth any day and have already made quite good on this intent, joyfully, with dignity and with honor. I plan on spending the rest of my days serving and honoring the poor. I don't know what you are going to school for and I hope it is for something besides making a buck. My ambition is simply to have "enough", which, by contemporary standards is pretty modest. I have complete faith in the human potential and have dedicated my life to service to causes that give voice to the voiceless and dignity to the discouraged. My sources of inspiration are Mother Theresa, Ghandi, Victor Frankl, ML King & Khalil Gibran. Thanks for asking!
 
 
+2 # DaveW. 2010-11-29 11:25
Dan, Sorry I didn't see your response sooner. You speak as a man of integrity and humility. I too, am following a similar trajectory as yourself. I am pursuing Bachelor's in History with a minor in Sociology. Have some serious back/legs/feet/ pain issues but I'm still breathing! Didn't get to college until I was damn near 50. I've learned so much! Despite health issues I've been a volunteer softball coach at local urban high school for 8 years now. I have very small yard maintenance business (12 clients). ALL the money I make I give to my oldest daughter who is working towards her masters in Anthropology. My wife is sales manager at a plant that produces Aluminum powder. We exist fine on her income. I'd like to get into some sort of position, unconcerned with pay, where I can feel I'm helping those who need help. Might get into local affordable housing group a friend of mine works for. My inspirations are ML King, W.E.B. Dubois, Howard Zinn, George Orwell, Margaret Sanger, Alice Paul and Karl Marx, who, I believe, has been vilified most unfairly. He was right. All life is a class struggle. Ghandi, of course, was magnificent.
 
 
+5 # Norman Ridenour 2010-11-25 08:10
New England tolerance???? Remember, both Rhode Island and Connetticut were founded by groups thrown out of Massachusetts Bay Colony for doctrinal differences.
 
 
+3 # bjw 2010-11-26 11:21
True. We have had both strains...toler ant and intolerant from the earliest colonialists which continues until today. It was the colonial Baptists who rebelled against paying for the support of the state church and who sought the wall of separation and appealed to Thomas Jefferson for relief. It was in his reply that we get the basis for the term we use now : separation of church and state.

http://www.crookedlakereview.com/articles/34_66/41aug1991/41smith.html

There's more in the larger article which is worth reviewing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Christianity_in_the_United_States
 
 
+3 # Frank Farr 2010-11-25 08:28
The editorial is on the mark. The Native American sympathizers who wrote should be aware that they are probably more numerous today (except in California, perhaps) than they were in 1620 when intermarriage with the whites is taken into consideration. And most native Americans are living better today than they did in 1620....This is not to make excuses for the abuse they suffered over the centuries. Andy Jackson drove my Cherokee ancestors out of Georgia--and I never forget it.
 
 
+5 # Dan Fletcher 2010-11-25 13:08
Quoting Frank Farr:
The editorial is on the mark. The Native American sympathizers who wrote should be aware that they are probably more numerous today (except in California, perhaps) than they were in 1620 when intermarriage with the whites is taken into consideration. And most native Americans are living better today than they did in 1620....This is not to make excuses for the abuse they suffered over the centuries. Andy Jackson drove my Cherokee ancestors out of Georgia--and I never forget it.

Yeah, we do tend to assimilate the survivors. I just hope you aren't saying that the fact that native Americans today get to enjoy salad shooters and all the other accoutrement of civilization that this end justifies the suffering that preceded it. Now that would be sad!
 
 
+8 # genierae 2010-11-25 13:20
Mr. Farr: Living better today? What do you base that on? They lost their entire way of life, their spiritual roots were dislodged, and their ancestral homelands are gone forever. You must be thinking materially. Do you really think that the white man's culture is superior to the Native American's? What a joke! You need to open up your mind and think spiritually, before you presume to judge whether Native Americans are better off today. (Back when the western part of this country was being settled, many whites "went Indian", with none who repented, while NO Native Americans "went white" voluntarily.)
 
 
+9 # God Dont Like Ugly 2010-11-25 14:17
Quoting Frank Farr:
And most native Americans are living better today than they did in 1620...

Have you been to a reservation lately Frank? You really should learn the facts before you make such statements.

"Most native Americans" today are living in extreme poverty, without even the basics of electricity, clean water and personal safety that the rest of us take for granted. Rape, violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and critical health issues are epidemic.

But please, don't take a "sympathizers" word for it... Google recent Native American news.
 
 
+4 # bjw 2010-11-26 09:57
Intermarriage? Certainly there was great deal mixing of the Europeans with both the natives and Africans brought as slave and free. And you are correct that after four hundred years of mixing, Native blood runs in the veins of almost everyone whose ancestors are not recent immigrants, especially in the South where it was illegal to be an Indian. Most Southerns are descended from those who could pass as something other than Indian. Those who didn't pass were removed or exterminated... .literally hunted down and exterminated much as they were in California. As for living better now, ask those on reservations if they think they are living better than their ancestors prior to removal and internment in what once were concentration camps. It's not a matter of numbers. Andy Jackson was enforcing the Indian Removal Act in defiance of the Supreme Court. At the root was the gold rush in North Georgia Gold Rush.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_Gold_Rush

My ancestors also were among those who fled and passed as other than Indian in order to survive.
 
 
+6 # bjw 2010-11-25 09:25
Like all our holidays and Holy Days, they have turned into something else,usually for commercial purposes. All I see on TV is trying to turn today into a day for shopping madly on line and at big sales.

The warm fuzzy picture painted in the article is based on a myth, a created legend promoted in elementary school readers. Enshrined in our very Constitution is the phrase 'excluding Indians untaxed.' No rights whatsoever in their own land. Excluded permanently in the law of the land. Illegal aliens in their own land. Was it the really the Last Thanksgiving?
 
 
+4 # genierae 2010-11-25 09:54
It was superior technology, delivered with arrogant indifference, that did the Native Americans in. They were seen by the whites as inferior beings, not much above animals, and this allowed them to be treated with such brutality that they were nearly annihilated. In reality, the Native Americans were much more spiritually advanced, and they lived in harmony with their environment. If their way of life had not been wiped out by whites, this country would still be a paradise.
 
 
+5 # Paul Ellis 2010-11-25 10:09
And soon after the meal, rewarded their providers with murder and theft. When we sit down to the feast, think of it as a metaphor and a continuing chance to do things differently. Think of all the "Indians" it takes to place that meal on the table, and do for us what is impossible to accomplish as individuals. It is nothing short of miraculous to think of all the hands it took to place before us the meal we are about to eat. Please leave the table satisfied and rejoice to the many different kinds of people responsible for our enjoyment.
 
 
+3 # genierae 2010-11-25 13:24
Mr. Ellis: Thanks for reminding us to remember all the hard work that goes into everything that we buy and consume. Thanks to all the workers across this world!!
 
 
+3 # bjw 2010-11-26 10:04
You are right that the food on the table was there because of illegal alien labor of American natives of Mexico or other parts of Lain America. For this, the nation should be giving thanks instead of the constant threat of detention and deportation.
 
 
+8 # kalpal 2010-11-25 10:25
The notion of claiming land or a continent one just arrived at is utterly Eurpean and Chrsitian. No other cultures just show up someplace and if no one kills the recent travelers immediately, all that can be seen is claimed as newly owned by teh travelers or their nation's power structure.

The only successful settlements flourished with the aid of the local population till the new arrivals decided to cleanse the area of the locals. This happened because the locals did not abide by rules they were not aware of or agreed to. This too is European and christian in its deepst essence.

Greed and manifest destiny made this nation what it is today and nearly totally extincted the local tribes.

Yet we are thankful to those who were cleansed off the face of the continent for hanging around long enough to teach the new arrivals how to survive their lack of skills and experience.
 
 
+2 # bjw 2010-11-26 10:19
Over generalizing with the condemnation of all Christians. Please read the history of Christianity in American. The Quakers and Mennonites and Dissenters were very different in many ways including their treatment of the Indians and their attitude toward slavery. In fact, they were behind the abolitionist movement. There has always been the same tension between the extremes of the expression of religious beliefs. The Quakers,Mennoni tes, Moravians and similar sects were and still are a potent force although they are not self-promoting zealots.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_churches
 
 
+2 # Dan Fletcher 2010-11-26 23:30
As a white anglo saxon Quaker married to a black/Cherokee/ French wife, with ancestors on both sides of our family that were active in abolitionism, civil rights and AIM, I am pleased that some people still remember that there were those who were different in ways that mattered, and still do.
 
 
+7 # Foxtrottango 2010-11-25 10:30
The first pilgrims were religious fanatics, just like the right wing conservatives are now. Their attitude about other religions have not changed and won't change until the government start to tax the crap out of them. Perhaps than and only than, will these hypocrites who will sell their God and our constitutional rights to highest corporate bidders will begin to understand what humanity is all about.

The pilgrims were a pitiful case of humanity when they arrived on American shores. The "Indians", whom some Spanish Christian scholars identified them with "EnDios" or "with God" provided them with substinances (food) perhaps because they were robbing the graves of the natives because they found out they had pottery full of corn and other dried vegetable buried with them. It seem the "EnDios" had more respect for the dead than the newly arrived "Christians" on their soil.

To make the story short, after the "Christians" settled down, they began a war of extermination on the native populations and the institutionaliz ed cruelty and hatred has now peaked in the US. It seem Christians, especially in the USA, are the worst humans on planet earth!
 
 
+6 # Dan Fletcher 2010-11-25 13:14
Yes indeed Foxtrottango, and God bless us one and all. Especially the good Christian brethren that made it possible for us to rape and plunder this continent, this our manifest destiny, and to commit genocide against a people we decided to call savages. This kind of begs the question though: what defines a savage? Could it be that we are confused and that we were and are the savages? Makes ya' wonder, huh.
 
 
+4 # bjw 2010-11-26 10:26
See my other posts about this topic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_churches

If there were unjust, it was not because of their Christianity, it was because of their hypocrisy in claiming to be Christian. That part has not changed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_churches

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Christianity_in_the_United_States
 
 
+4 # Robert Griffin 2010-11-26 17:10
The Spanish also called the natives of the Philippines Indios (EnDios?). Whether this indicates a high degree of spirituality among Filipinos or a general confusion between the East Indies and the West Indies I am not certain.
 
 
+4 # bill cunningham 2010-11-25 19:24
The Europeans at Plymouth were not immigrants but settlers. Immigrants come to your country either with hopes of joining your society or to work and then return home. When immigrants stay in the U.S. their children become Americans.

On the other hand settlers come to take over. Settlers look on natives as obstacles, not as hosts. That is the biggest problem with the Thanksgiving myth. It's a nice story, too bad it's not true. The "Pilgrims" and "pioneers" weren't immigrants but settlers.

Thanksgiving is a good idea. Let us give thanks, in humility and not in pride, and if not to God, at least not to the Father of Lies.
 
 
-3 # bjw 2010-11-26 10:49
Yes, but the real story is much more complicated.

http://www.crookedlakereview.com/articles/34_66/41aug1991/41smith.html

Some did come and integrate. We are a nation of mixed breeds, not immigrants as is so often claimed. We should be celebrating our hybrid vigor as opposed to the artificially maintained divisions of race, ethnicity and ancestry for political and commercial reasons.
 
 
+2 # Dan Fletcher 2010-11-26 23:41
"Hybrid vigor"....? Strange phrasing. What is the point? That pure stock is inferior to hybrid stock? And is the mix necessarily "better" or merely different? Artificially maintained divisions? Okay. That I understand, but why the implication that there must be no divisions? I rather prefer the differences myself. The idea of homogenized hybrids seems peculiar to me. Just wondering, but why can't we celebrate the differences that make human beings interesting? And why does holding on to what makes us different necessarily lacking of vigor? I like what makes me different! It isn't that it makes me better. That would be silly. As for my "artificially maintained division of race, ethnicity and ancestry", I celebrate the political and commercial separation I possess! Why should I prefer anything else?
 
 
+2 # Mike K 2010-11-27 13:52
Well said Dan, to say to imply there should be no divisions disrespects both the suffering of Native Americans and Blacks as well as the major Immigrant groups. It also disrespects there contributions.
 
 
+3 # Dan Fletcher 2010-11-26 23:33
I have no idea why you would parse the difference between "settlers" and "immigrants". I can't see how this is meaningful in any way. The behaviors of either once they come to an area seem to be identical. Why does this distinction matter? I mean, Europeans "immigrated" here to "settle". Except for guest workers, I don't think I know of any immigrant that isn't a settler as well. Is there a difference? Please explain.
 
 
+3 # Ed & Susan Ingraham 2010-11-26 11:40
Thanks for a beautiful comment/thought /message of hope for Thanksgiving and the New Year. Ed & Susan
 
 
+3 # Patriot 2010-11-26 15:50
The first Thanksgiving was held by the Pilgrims to celebrate their having survived the past year and harvested enough to enable them to survive the coming winter.

It's become a day when we give thanks for all our good fortune. Despite economic calamity, war, religious and racial bigotry, we've persisted as a free nation and a free people, and stand to the rest of the world, despite our many shortcomings, as its best hope for individual liberty. We have much for which to be thankful, and much to do to live up to the ideals expressed in our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution.

Before we decide to rewrite that Constitution, let's read and understand it. Let's examine our past successes and failures, build on the former and avoid repeating the latter. Let's perpetuate our success as a melting pot, not slam shut our doors and our minds against all change. Let's remember that we're in charge, that we govern by voting, being well-informed informed, and sending our representives our intructions regarding policy and legislation.

Perhaps next year we'll have more for which to be grateful, and less about which to squabble.
 
 
+3 # Dan Fletcher 2010-11-26 23:51
Very nice rendition of a popular mythology. But "we" are not in charge after all. Our voting is corrupted by the fact that we can only vote for those whom the elites have approved for us to select from. We have no say in the selection. Well informed? This nation of ditto-heads screaming in a virulent conservative echo chamber? Really? As for sending our representatives our instructions regarding policy and legislation, I know that I write frequently and am usually ignored. Do they listen to you? How nice! And we've persisted as a free nation? Whose "we" Kimosabe!?! And we stand to the world as its best hope for individual liberty? Well, that might work for many WASPS but I don't know about you...I see a declining standard of living that presently puts us on the bottom of the pile of first world countries. That's a fact by the way, and not an opinion which anyone can easily research to verify. Yes, we should live up to our Declaration of Independence, it's ideals and those expressed in the Constitution. We should seriously give that a try some time. We're failing miserably at it at the moment, in case you hadn't noticed. You're a step away from an immoral American exceptionalism.
 
 
+4 # Dan Meehan 2010-11-27 11:52
Let's remember that the Pilgrims were trying to get away from the Anglican Church because they thought its rituals and liturgy were too Roman Catholic. The Pilgrims were the first practitioners of the oldest American prejudice, namely anti-Catholicis m. Lots of Christians in this country are actively and shamelessly anti-Catholic to this day. It's always fun to kick the Pope.
 

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