11.23.2012

No Thanks to Thanksgiving! Genocide, slavery, crushing debt and depression

(Source: FinalCall.com) - Family gatherings around massive feasts, excessive shopping sprees, and expressions of gratitude are the traditional things associated with Thanksgiving but a dark history of atrocities and exploitation imposed on Native Americans and enslaved Africans still remains hidden, indigenous activists say.

The Thanksgiving myth perpetuated each year is that Pilgrims, Puritans and others came to America in search of religious freedom, but these settlers actually forced others to join their religion, observed Marilyn Vann, president of the Descendants of the Five Civilized Tribes Association.

“It is good for people to be thankful, meet with family and friends and worship God. But the Europeans’ society was not good for people of color and the reality historically is that when they came into power, they killed others and set up a society that enslaved people of color,” Mrs. Vann told The Final Call.

Every year the United American Indians of New England mark a National Day of Mourning. Participants fast from sundown the day before through the afternoon on Thanksgiving to mourn their ancestors, genocide committed against their people, and theft of their land.

This year’s 43rd annual Day of Mourning, dedicated to political prisoner Leonard Peltier, is Nov. 22 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The American Indian Movement leader is serving two life sentences for killing two FBI agents on the South Dakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He was convicted in 1977. Mr. Peltier and his supporters have long maintained he is innocent and framed by the FBI. [READ MORE]