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HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21620
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  Reply with quote  




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.

Have a good one!


Last edited by Sage Francis on Wed Nov 24, 2010 6:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
Post Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:32 pm
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Jared Paul



Joined: 15 Jul 2002
Posts: 3720
Location: www.PrayersForAtheists.org
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Thanksgiving prayers for atheists.

BUYA!


This is the native american National Day of Mourning event I've attended 3 out of the last 6 years on Day of Mourning/Thanksgiving:
http://www.openmediaboston.org/node/1561

"National Day of Mourning:

Since 1970, Native Americans have gathered at noon on Cole's Hill in Plymouth to commemorate a National Day of Mourning on the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. Many Native Americans do not celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims and other European settlers. To them, Thanksgiving Day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of their people, the theft of their lands, and the relentless assault on their culture. Participants in the National Day of Mourning honor Native ancestors and the struggles of Native peoples to survive today. It is a day of remembrance and spiritual connection as well as a protest of the racism and oppression which Native Americans continue to experience."
Post Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:09 pm
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redball



Joined: 12 May 2006
Posts: 6871
Location: Northern New Jersey
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Post Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:34 pm
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Disharmony



Joined: 01 Jun 2003
Posts: 3027
Location: Buried in Minnesota dirt.
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Turkeys deserve death. Evil little creatures with evil little things in their dark little pockets hiding little insidious things.

Post Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:51 pm
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21620
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Jared,
thanks for that link. I included in the blog I put together at www.SageFrancis.net

This is one of the "family gathering" holidays where I can actually enjoy myself and eat great food so I'm really looking forward to it. Despite the fact that I won't be sharing it with any blood relatives. Haha.

Oh, also, the Associate Press just reported that a Texas jury has convicted ex-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay in money laundering trial. To make this related to the thread, I give thanks to that Jury.
Post Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:01 pm
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 8547
Location: Third Coast
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Almost posted the prayer myself, as it is a permanent fixture of my facebook account.

Here's the video, which I think gives the entire message a little more poignancy:

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Post Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:04 pm
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Sage Francis
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Joined: 30 Jun 2002
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Snap. I should have checked the youtube. But then that would kill our "Clip of the Week" tradition. haha.
Post Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:07 pm
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crash



Joined: 07 Aug 2003
Posts: 5457
Location: the chocolate city with a marshmallow center and a graham cracker crust of corruption
Re: HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  Reply with quote  

Sage Francis wrote:
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.

you're referring to that native language(s) of the wampanoag - right? there are many surviving native languages, such as navajo - though a large number of the languages left are only spoken fluently by the elderly and will surely be extinct in a few years.
Post Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:06 pm
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 8547
Location: Third Coast
Re: HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  Reply with quote  

crash wrote:
Sage Francis wrote:
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.

you're referring to that native language(s) of the wampanoag - right? there are many surviving native languages, such as navajo - though a large number of the languages left are only spoken fluently by the elderly and will surely be extinct in a few years.


My academic advisor is fluent in Ojibwe, and teaches a course on the language. There are pockets of people across North America that still speak indigenous languages, though they are quite literally dying out. Thank you boarding schools! Thank you forced assimilation! Thank you "save the man, kill the Indian" policies!
Post Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:13 pm
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Sage Francis
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Hmmm. I'm going off of what the wampanoag speaker said at the festival I attended. Maybe she was referencing her own tribe's language, but I don't think so. And maybe she's wrong. If I remember correctly, what she said is that none of the languages have been preserved to the point where people can converse with each other using them. And that's because none of them were written languages. She said that what they have left is words for things, so they interchange their native words with English words. If you know that there are tribes who have a full language this is news to me but it's good to hear. I've never heard it. Links would be appreciated. I'll gladly amend my post and blog if what I said turns out to be untrue.

Last edited by Sage Francis on Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
Post Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:28 pm
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
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Location: Third Coast
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http://www.wampanoagtribe.net/Pages/Wampanoag_Education/S004B1EF9
http://www.native-languages.org/wampanoag.htm

These sites confirm your information on the Wampanoag, but all of the sites below demonstrate that a large number (though this figure certainly pales in comparisons to that prior to encounter) of indigenous languages are still spoken. A few are even thriving.

http://www.native-languages.org/

There is an excellent book on the Anishinaabeg and their culture by Eddie Benton called The Mishomis Book: The Voice of the Ojibway.

http://www.omniglot.com/index.htm

This site is a goldmine for A LOT of languages, and has a good deal of information on various Native American languages to boot.

http://www.omniglot.com/writing/navajo.htm
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/potawatomi.htm
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/ojibwa.htm
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/tlingit.htm
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/sioux.htm
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/quechua.htm
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/nahuatl.htm
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/nuuchahnulth.htm
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/hopi.htm
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/haida.htm
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/cherokee.htm
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/cheyenne.htm
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/choctaw.htm
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/arapaho.htm
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/abenaki.php
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/shawnee.php
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/massachusett.htm
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/montagnais.php
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/blackfoot.htm

These were all of the ones I could think of while searching the site, though there are undoubtedly quite a few more. Please post these on your blog!

I'm fairly certain that Navajo is the most widely spoken, with upward of 100,000 speakers. At any rate, I think you'll find that languages traditionally spoken in the western part of North America, like Navajo, are preserved better than those spoken in the east for obvious reasons. Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal Act of 1830 also widely dispersed cultural groups in the American southeast and in the Plains region (and this was after the decimation of Native peoples, and thus their languages, for a period of about 330 years).
Post Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:11 pm
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Jackson



Joined: 18 May 2009
Posts: 37
Location: Pittsburqh
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"sit up like some fool and eat turkey, that's the day your forefathers jerked me" !
Post Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:39 pm
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T-Wrex
p00ny tang


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
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Location: Detroit, Michigan
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Happy Lions vs Patriots Day!!!
Post Thu Nov 25, 2010 4:54 am
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Confidential



Joined: 23 Jan 2004
Posts: 2040
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A People's language is such a central part of culture, and I believe culture is what makes a people. I know of several Indian organizations in CA and Latin America that make language preservation a key component of what they do. I know of projects that involve interviewing some of the last native speakers of Yurok and Hupa and who have compiled dictionaries for the languages, as well as nahuatl, which until very recently was considered a dead or dying language but has seen renewal.

The Seventh Generation Fund for Indian Development is one such org that does this.

I'm sick with a fever and terrible sore throat, probably won't be joining the family this year, which sucks because we are going to whittier to see an uncle that is coming back from stage 4 cancer. I don't think I can withstand the drive and I don't know if his immunity is still weakened from the radiation and chemo, yet I was cooking the turkey, so now I have to start it in about an hour and send it with my parents. Damn.
Post Thu Nov 25, 2010 6:59 am
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Mark in Minnesota



Joined: 02 Jan 2004
Posts: 2026
Location: Saint Louis Park, MN
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I was estranged from my father and his side of my extended family for a period of nearly ten years, from my middle teens to my early twenties. Once I was ready to reconcile with my father there was still a pretty big gap to close with everyone I had excluded from my life. Thanksgiving was the thing, more than anything else, which helped that to happen. Sharing hospitality in a context where the gathering was more about the day than about the people... without that, I don't think I would have gotten the chance to know my two little cousins as young adults, and they've turned into very cool people who I hope to have a lifelong relationship with.

Our sense of ritual on that day doesn't have a lot to do with the pilgrims, either; the people on this side of my family are descended pretty much entirely from 20th century immigrants into northern Minnesota; my grandparents and great grandparents on that side were denied access to certain jobs and denied a certain amount of agency in the politics of their region and nation, scrutinized as possible communists solely on the basis of their national origin. Finnish food is always at least a small part of our family meals, and because of the Thanksgiving emphasis on family this is especially true on that holiday. This is at least part of the reason this holiday always makes me think of my estrangement from my family--because my family gatherings are always at least partially a meditation on our collective estrangement from the culture my father's grandparents left behind when they immigrated here.

So, Thanksgiving doesn't feel like a national holiday for me, or a celebration of anything particularly American -- especially not the way it did when I was a kid, celebrating with both my parents together or with my mother and her family. Instead, Thanksgiving feels like nothing more than a time to be near family and to share a meal of harvest food. My gratitude is for being part of something larger than myself, when I'm otherwise pretty solitary and self-interested throughout the year.

But is there something bigger to celebrate here, some cultural pride worth celebrating today? Half my blood as an American comes from European refugees who fled their homeland in the 20th century; fled war and famine and a coming conflict with the Soviet Union that killed a hell of a lot of people. Whatever crimes against peoples were committed in the foundation of this country, what this country became following its foundation was a place of refuge from much of the religious, ethnic, and political balkinization which produced so much conflict in other parts of the world. It's still a part of who we are today, to the point where I find myself thinking about the Hmong and Somali populations in the Twin Cities, first- and second-generation refugees from conflicts even more desperate, bloody, and protracted than the ones that brought my great-grandparents here. I wonder if those immigrants will be celebrating something today, or if they'll share in the guilt and cynicism that fills this thread.

I do understand the value in mourning the loss of the many cultures which populated these lands before European colonialism pushed them all into near-extinction. I'm not at peace with that history and we certainly shouldn't whitewash it but I also don't feel like the need for a more truthful reconciliation with the remnants of those cultures requires us to not hold celebrations of our own culture; the same relentless homogenization that this forum likes to discuss as a grave tragedy has been and still remains a kind of open door for people who are fleeing much more immediate and ongoing tragedies elsewhere in the world.

I suppose I think that's an outcome worth celebrating, and certainly one worth being thankful for. I also think it's an outcome very much in the spirit of the holiday's traditional pilgrims-and-Indians imagery.
Post Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:12 am
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