And this coming Thursday? In some circles, it is commemorated as Thankstaking.
Serious tweaking is going on in Indian Country. Or rather, humorous tweaking.
In the years I have interviewed Native people about their lives in contemporary America, I have been struck not only by their humor, but by my fellow non Natives' frequent surprise it exists, as if this essential human trait somehow skipped Native DNA.
Yes, I answer. Often hysterical, I may add. Ironic. Witty. Most Native people I met either make puns, tell risqué jokes, do impersonations, or make fun of themselves or others. Occasionally, the joke (the same joke) is on me. "Oh, you're a vegetarian? In my language"--it does not matter which language--"vegetarian translates as 'bad hunter.'" I dutifully groan.
Most Native people I know realize that mainstream Americans have no idea Indian Humor, as it is called, exists.
"We're either stoic and noble or tragically flawed, you know? I get so tired of that," an Osage lawyer in Washington, DC told me, sighing, before returning to what she called her "roast beast" sandwich. Disconnections run deep.
Of course this stereotype comes from countless portrayals of Indians as one-dimensional torturers and terrorists in the media. A mass-murdering Indian doesn't have anything in his mind except a singleminded urge to crush, kill, and destroy.
For more on Native humor, see All About Jim Northrup and Low-Budget Film Explores Native Humor.