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William S Burroughs – Thanksgiving Prayer

One of the few traditions that SFR holds is when we feature this poem by William Burroughs on the front page of our site every Thanksgiving. Of course Thanksgiving is a great time when families get together and give thanks for all that they have. Heck, it’s one of the only times of the year when I get to eat a good home-cooked meal, and for that I am very thankful. However, as many of you know, Thanksgiving is also a time when a lot of Americans puff out their chest with pride while taking part in a tradition that they barely understand. For the record (and for your drunk Uncle Steve,) European settlers “discovered” America and then decimated an entire population of people who once shared a rich and beautiful culture. It is believed that there are no full-blooded Native Americans left. How’s that for “giving thanks” when these are the folks who taught the settlers how to survive through the harsh New England winter? Righto!

A couple weeks ago my Grandmother and I attended a celebration of the fall harvest which was led by Native Americans from our local Pokanoket Wampanoag community. They told their own version of (what the main speaker kept referring to as) HIS-story. Most of what was said isn’t anything I hadn’t heard before, but one factoid she dropped that stunned me is how their language is dead. No one knows how to speak any of the Native American languages anymore. Sure, they remember some words, but not enough to hold a conversation. Marinate on that while you and your loved ones converse over your turkey dinner.

It’s nice to have people like William Burroughs who use their art to remind us of the atrocities our country was built upon. There is much that still needs fixing and I think it’s good to use this holiday as a way to remember that. 2010 has been an emotionally turbulent year for myself and many of the people I care for, but the dust is beginning to settle and for that I am thankful. Enjoy the company of your loved ones this holiday and may your “Thanksgiving Prayer” be one that speaks a little bit of truth.

Best wishes,
Sage Francis

Nov 24

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