Thanksgiving?
by: Kenneth Frawley

"I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them.
There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly
trying to keep it for themselves."
-- John Wayne 
   

Yes, dare I say, I've a problem with the American Thanksgiving Holiday

No, it's not due to my vegetarianism or animal rights position

As you might assume

No, no no. Nothing so black and white

For you see, what I actually struggle with are the origins of the holiday

I understand the day has evolved into a day of simply taking stock of what one presently has

Friends, family, health and being grateful for all that, which is fine

I've trouble with the remembrance of the Pilgrim struggle and that initial Thanksgiving

Mind you, I do feel a great sense of compassion and gratitude for those earliest of arriving American's

Unfortunately, I cannot overlook their arrogant, selfish and less than humane perspective

Thus, I fear, I'm inclined to view acknowledging that initial 1621 Thanksgiving as something akin to

Celebrating something as revolting as slavery

Now, before you rise to your feet in a rage

It's important to point out that these early settlers we remember on this day,

Viewed the indigenous people of the North American continent as sub-human.

This they held despite the fact that those so-called backward, naked red people

Had somehow managed to eek out a living in what was a very harsh land for centuries

Something the Pilgrims could not

Yet this view was maintained, even after those uniquely benevolent, sub-human-souls 

Had gone to the Pilgrim rescue with food and farming knowledge, and

HUMANITY-by-example 

A lesson the Pilgrims would not grasp

And once the Pilgrim recovery process took hold and the starving puritanical European lot regained itself

The Indians, even more horrifically, became a hindrance, a rather significant nuisance to the Pilgrim

And his plan for expansion and the newfound freedom he sought 

A freedom that was ruthless

A freedom that would come at the cost of not only the liberty of another group of humans

But that group's very existence

So, I say to you, as an invading pale-face of the latter half of the twentieth century

I tend to hang my head in shame on Thanksgiving Day

Particularly when I read quotes like the one included here from the great Indian hunter himself, 

John, the almighty Duke Wayne