June 20, 2010

Great White Father's Day

An essay notes why Natives don't necessarily see holidays the same way as non-Natives:

All Hail the Great White Father

By Brenda GoldenFather’s Day--a time to reflect and remember one’s father with sadness, gratefulness, sorrow, happiness or even soul searching. For the Native American, we will never forget what the Great White Father promised but did not deliver.

Here is a brief excerpt from the book The Road to Disappearance by Angie Debo: “Two hundred years ago when the activities of the white man in North America were dominated by clashing imperial ambitions and colonial hardships and struggles, the great Creek Confederacy rested in savage contentment under the reign of native law. The reputation of the Creeks as warriors and native diplomats extended to the most distant reaches of the Indian country and the lonely settler hated them with a ferocity inspired by fear; but secure in their careless strength, they had no guile to match that of the white man, and no disciplined courage to oppose his ruthlessness. They met encroachment with angry and sporadic reprisals, but in the main, they were held in check by specious arguments and pledges of friendship until their power was worn down and their spirits tamed. Piece by piece their land was wrested from them and they submitted with grumbling, always believing that this time the treaty would be kept. In the end they were dragged from their ancient homes and flung down upon a raw western frontier to conquer it or die.”

Such is the case of thousands of First Americans treated equally as sovereign nations, entering into agreements and treaties to keep the peace and attempt to live along side the exploding Non Native settlers.
Golden's conclusion:Let us stop and acknowledge what the Great White Father has done for us, the Native peoples so no one will forget.Comment:  Father's Day obviously has no political component...or does it? If you look at our holidays, they're basically about celebrating the triumph of Euro-Americans and the greatness of the status quo. Hence we say "as American as mom, baseball, and apple pie" and celebrate Mother's and Father's Day.

How many holidays actually challenge the dominant mindset? Labor Day, perhaps, but we've denuded that of any meaning. Martin Luther King Day, certainly, and look how controversial that was.

Meanwhile, other countries celebrate holidays such as Guy Fawkes Night or Bastille Day. Unlike us, they're not afraid to acknowledge that the status quo sometimes sucks.

We could use a day to celebrate not just freedom (July 4) but the revolutionary spirit of freedom. A day where conservatives and liberals could come together to agitate for their causes. Teabaggers could rail against black presidents big government and rational people could rail against corporate greed (Wall Street and BP) and wasteful wars (Afghanistan and Iraq).

We could call it We Shall Overcome Day or Fight the Power Day. Or for some historical perspective, Little Bighorn Day. Is there a better example of how the Great White Father was wrong and got the punishment it justly deserved?

For more on the subject, see Divisive St. Patrick's Day and Liberation Day, not Presidents Day.


Brenda Golden said...

Thanks for using my essay but I would have appreciated you asking first or at least collaborating. We need to work together in this world to make things better. I hope you provided the link at least to my page. Brenda

Anonymous said...

I have noticed how you go through people's Facebook pages and take things like photos and what they write and then post them on your blogs here. Ask first, Rob and so you can also get the real story instead of assuming and then criticizing. Stealing info from other people's website is not right.

Rob said...

The link to your essay is right in the headline, Brenda. And my blog is one of millions that posts excerpts of articles so people can comment on them.

Facebook is a semi-public forum with 400 million users, Anonymous. And it's not "stealing" if I acknowledge and link to the source, as I usually do.

dmarks said...

Have a Father's Day film festival, and show "Smoke Signals".

Anon said: "Stealing info from other people's website is not right."

Stealing? Crack open a dictionary. No stealing, no taking has occured. The original information is still there.

Rob said...

Incidentally, Brenda, Indianz.com quoted more of your article than I did:

Feel free to address your concerns to them first and me second. They're doing the same thing I am--sharing your good work--for the same reasons.