The day this post goes live is the day of Thanksgiving in the US. I haven’t been big on Thanksgiving for a few years – I think it’s pretty outrageous to tell the story of Native Americans helping white settlers to survive and leave out the part about how the white settlers turned around and committed genocide against the folks who were there first. But this year, as we watch repeatedly the attacks of rich white oil interests against Native/Indigenous water protectors at Standing Rock (most recently with water cannons in freezing weather)…I’ve seen it suggested that this is ironic. I think it goes quite a bit beyond irony at this point. The truth is that white colonists never stopped oppressing Native/Indigenous people in America. We need to own that. We can’t ignore or erase that history. And we need to look at what concrete steps we can take now to do better, because simply sitting around feeling guilty doesn’t do anyone any good.
Author, activist, and all-around excellent human S. Bear Bergman posted this on Facebook yesterday:
Dear Facebook: can we talk about “thanksgiving”? As a Jew, I cannot stomach celebrating genocide and also as a Jew, I really get how “everyone has the day off” ends up being where gatherings go because the world grinds to a total halt. And yet, this national holiday has a revolting origin and the US Gov’t is RIGHT NOW terrorizing Native/Indigenous folks off their land. AGAIN.
So, how about this harm reduction proposition? If you’re going to do it, send a percentage of what you spend to travel and feast to protect the people protecting their land and all of our water. Shake down your relatives for money. If there’s a table you will sit at, make it a Thing at the table. Aunt Petunia might even surprise you.
I think Bear’s suggestion is a good one. Since the table I sit at today will be the one in my kitchen, alone with my partner, I am choosing to shake down everyone who reads this blog for money instead. And to make it extra easy for you to participate, here are some links:
SacredStoneCamp.org: There are links on this page to donate supplies or funds to the camp, as well as a link to donate to the camp’s legal defense fund.
Standing Rock Medic + Healer Council: Links to donate medical supplies, funds, and/or herbal remedies for use by the medics and healers at Standing Rock.
Mni Wiconi Health Clinic Partnership at Standing Rock: Donate to support the creation of a free clinic at the camp.