November 22, 2007

Rolo wrong about Thanksgiving

No need to baste Thanksgiving turkey in guiltRolo says he's an American Indian who has to be careful about admitting to the guilty pleasures of enjoying a turkey feast (Thanksgiving) because it's thought by “white liberals” that he is commemorating the cultural death of “my Indian people.”

He should serve himself up a piece of “sorry pie” on this Thanksgiving for his misleading perceptions and speaking on behalf of many American Indians.
Comment:  Yellow Bird's critique implicitly agrees with mine. Her position is that Indians have no reason to feel guilty because they've done nothing wrong. My position is that Indians have no reason to feel guilty because they've done nothing wrong and Rolo is imagining that liberals are trying to make them feel guilty.

Which reminds me that I had Thanksgiving with an Indian a couple of times. My brother's first wife was 1/4 Cherokee. You'd never guess it because she looked like a WASP princess. But her father Wes was half Cherokee and you could see it in his features. I don't know if he was enrolled, but I count him as an Indian.

As I recall, no one tried to make Wes feel guilty about anything. I don't think we talked about Indians or politics at all. Undoubtedly the talk was about the weather, football, and other innocuous topics.

My brother's current wife is Latina, which means she and her relatives are part Indian. I wonder if she acknowledges the indigenous part of her heritage. Probably not.

Oh, well. Happy National Day of Mourning! Happy Thanksgiving!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think what is missed in both these views is a little bit of history. When Columbus landed he didn't meet savages offering a banquet to a new king. What is traditional among most tribes is a series of feasts throughout the year, one of which Columbus happened to be just in time for. It is not a guilty pleasure to feast in thankfulness and celebrate the earths bounty and has never been for thousands of years. Thanksgiving is more rightfully Native than any of the other holidays in celebration in America. It is rooted in deep religious beliefs.
What disturbs me farther is that a person of 1/4 blood is considered "indian enough" to be qualified to speak for the 500 Nations. Quantum matters much less than upbringing. To count a 1/4 blood raised off the rez is like counting yourself a european because your grandpa was raised there. Race and culture can be two very different things.