Every year for the last several years, someone(s) attempts to correct me for saying "Happy Thanksgiving", and explains to me that I really need to look past the lies I was taught and learn the real history of the First Peoples and how my ancestors pillaged them and their land, because if I knew anything at all, I wouldn't be perpetuating this travesty by telling people Happy Anything.
I got tired of New Age White Guilt a long time ago. I'm better acquainted with Native American (I'm not using the term First Peoples - that moniker needs to go to someone much farther back, and closer to modern day Iraq) history than most of the people who tell me this stuff. Part of my ancestry went west to Oklahoma (or died on the way) when Jackson's sorry white trash ass pulled the Removal, and part of it hid out in the Appalachians of NC, SC, and Georgia and lived like fugitives. I know some of their names, and where they lived; do any of the DoA proponents?
The other portions of my genetic makeup came from the "evil white invaders", a handful of Irish, Scots, and English immigrants who were mostly on the run from some European authority, for better or worse reasons. They married Cherokee and Tuscarora women, and probably pissed off both sides doing it (see? I come by it honestly). Some of them came here because someone else took their homes and land, and wrecked their lives; and some of those people had the same done to them at some point. How far back does the punitive action need to go?
So if it weren't for all those nasty, murdering, theiving Caucasian buttinskis, I wouldn't be here. Now, I have had a couple of people (all from the cowardly safety of online message boards) inform me that I indeed should not exist, and that any interbreeding that took place with NA women was surely either rape or an act of treason to her people. They seem certain that any NA woman would've been killed before the offending offspring was born, or have just stated the opinion that my ancestor should've never been allowed to live. Considering we have Antler Silverthorne and Anne Hammer marrying two Europeans and running businesses with them, I feel I can argue against those being the only possibilites. And considering I damn well think I should exist, I can definitely argue the rest.
I'm also tired of people acting as if indigenous Americans are the only people in history to be overrun and done dirty by another group. No act of greed, cruelty, and bigotry is acceptable, but buying into the "noble savage" myth and pretending that Native Americans never warred on each other, taking territory and resources, killing some and enslaving others, and all the godawful things that generally happen when two groups clash, is simply fluffybunny wishful guilting.
So is demanding that the current generations should be punished for things that happened before they were born. Ending the reprehensibly prejudiced, unjust, and dishonest leftovers of Manifest Destiny that still exist needs to happen, but I don't believe in blood guilt. Even if I did, I'd be paying a blood debt to myself, which seems kinda pointless. I'd feel bloody stupid taking my house away from me and giving it back to me. Either way, the "Old Days" are not coming back. It wouldn't be a perfect utopia if they did. That which can adapt survives, and some NA tribes have done just that. They deserve to be proud for coming through to the current day in spite of truly horrendous obstacles against them. They have not accomplished as much as they have by indulging in bigotry against people who are not responsible for the wrongs of their forefathers, and insisting that the only acceptable option is to turn back the clock.
However it began, Thanksgiving has become a day to celebrate bounty, not just of material comforts, but of all the things we should be grateful for. Given the level of self-absorbed entitlement I encounter on a regular basis, we need something to remind us that we should be thankful for everything we have. I'm thankful to have ancestral ties to two continents, and to be the product of people on either side who didn't give up, who moved forward and made their own destinies. Today's dinner (with a bow to Turkey) is in their honor.