Thanksgiving Is a Great Time—If You Ignore the Lie Behind It

Ray Cook

Thanksgiving is one of those American holidays that seem to fly in the face of today’s original Americans. I get tired of the sales that celebrate the holiday. What balls it must have taken for the first store owner in America to think that this is a money-making opportunity.

Every morning, if and when we wake up to greet the day, we do so (for the most part) with appreciation and prayer. So, not to sound too cliché, to our way of thinking every day is thanksgiving. That is what we are taught, from birth. Our fathers hold us up and sing a welcome song when we are born. A song of welcome and thanks. Always be thankful. It’s true, ask any Native with a good mind.

What were the Pilgrims thankful for and to whom? Well, the answer is loaded with conjecture. They were strangers in a strange land. They got there on ships meant for hauling livestock, so the ships were rank. And given the traditional disregard for bathing in Europe, extra rank. So the Pilgrims were sickly, starving and very weak, in weapons and in health. They hardly knew how to fish, the easiest thing in the world, but these sorts were used to buying their fish from fishmongers. When in Europe, they were used to buying what they needed. Few of them knew the sharp end of an ax, for shit’s sake. They were pitiful. But, they were also conniving. How else could one rationalize taking what is not theirs?

Yet, still, we recognized their pitifulness and we tried to help them to comprehend this new world. For the Mohawks, our endeavors ended with a barrage of rifle fire from the Dutch. Then the French and then the English. It was as if the new arrivals had no grasp of diplomacy or respect.

Flash forward, 1960 thru 1969. Can’t help but cook when a nation shuts down. My Grandmothers’ homes and farms. The Haudenosaunee are an agrarian and hunting and fishing society. My father’s mother had 13 children from 1902 or so to 1929. My mother’s mom, if I remember right, had 8 children through the same years, give or take.

I had 51 first cousins on my father’s side and 38 first cousins on my mother’s side. Both of my grandmothers had farms. I believe all but one of my uncles on my dad’s side were in WWII. I know of one Uncle on my mom’s side was in that war. The others were too old.

As a child I remember the family gatherings, Thanksgiving being one of three important ones. Easter, Thanksgiving and New Years.

We came together mostly for the reason that the aunties and uncles did not have to work and the rest of the country was already taking the days off. In the early 1960’s, my uncles were home from the war only 15 years. They were still young and earning union wages as high steel ironworkers and welders. A few went to work in Rochester where Bausch and Lomb, Xerox and Kodak were booming. There was work everywhere. The ironworkers went to work building America, starting with the I-90’s bridged overpasses. Then on to Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, New York City, Toronto and Montreal to build the post WWII sky line.

Tending to the farms fell on those who stayed home, the kids. Agrarian life is the best life ever. Hard work, but done right, fun. Always fun. And the cousins had a load of fun when we all got together on the farms.

I think sometimes Thanksgiving is a good thing, if I can ignore the real story. Of betrayal, secrecy and manipulation that originated this fake date. There was no love at the first Thanksgiving, if indeed it ever did happen. There was only suspicion and curiosity. Oh yeah, and fear and sickness.

Get beyond that, and native folk can have a great time this Thanksgiving.

Ray Cook is ICTMN's opinions editor.

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tmsyr11's picture
According to Year 2015 politics and push of Liberal Progressives, the refugees of today ( Muslim and Central American) are newest Mayflower Pilgrims to set foot on America or Turtle Island (as its called). >>>>>>>>>>> November 26, 2015, 06:00 am Obama: Syrian refugees are like pilgrims on the Mayflower By Bradford Richardson http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/261368-obama-syrian-refugees-are-like-pilgrims-on-the-mayflower >>>>>>>>>>> Obviously, some-body (US Federal Taxpayers) has to feed these people and establish as legit Americans to qualifiy for US Federal benefits. THe great majority are not the best, brightest, smartest of old. Like scraps from the table Thanksgiving feast, request for 2nd servings or desert is going to be smaller and smaller (if any). The sooner American Indian people realize and understand that living in the past, i.e. 1492 or 1620, doesn't put foot on the table, the better that legitimate American Indian Tribal affairs and concerns will be better able to compete with illegitiate speciall interests of Muslim migration, illegal immigration, black affairs, etc. The next THanksgiving feast could involve Indian affairs being one chair less or pushed away from the THanksgiving table considering the competitive and aggressive efforts of special interests as Muslim affairs, Hispanic rights, and Black lives matter.
Sammy7's picture
Ray, who could have guessed that the descendants of the early starving settlers would genetically engineer birds with ginormous breasts and succulent thighs, fed with growth hormones, antibiotics, and toxins, raised in record time, trucked off feathers flying to be killed, plucked and frozen, then shipped to tables across Turtle Island to celebrate a lie? Then stuffed to the point of breathlessness these settler descendants drink oceans of beer, watch parades and games on television until Black Friday arrives six hours early on Thursday, upon which they engage in irreverent rituals of greed until exhausted and rendered horizontally unconscious. Avoid these people.