Indigenous People Push Back Against US ‘Thanksgiving Mythology’

Republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

“We will not stop telling the truth about the Thanksgiving story and what happened to our ancestors,” says Kisha James, whose grandfather founded the National Day of Mourning in 1970.

JESSICA CORBETTNovember 24, 2022

The United American Indians of New England and allies gathered at noon Thursday at Cole’s Hill in Plymouth, Massachusetts for the 53rd National Day of Mourning—an annual tradition that serves as “a day of remembrance and spiritual connection, as well as a protest against the racism and oppression that Indigenous people continue to experience worldwide.”

“It has continued for all these years as a powerful demonstration of Indigenous unity and of the unity of all people who speak truth to power.”

“We don’t have any issues with people sitting down with their family and giving thanks,” Kisha James—who is an enrolled member of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) and is also Oglala Lakota—told BBC. “What we do object to is the Thanksgiving mythology.”

In a Thursday speech, James—whose grandfather founded the National Day of Mourning in 1970—challenged the lies of “mythmakers” and history books, instead highlighting “genocide, the theft of our lands, the destruction of our traditional ways of life, slavery, starvation, and never-ending oppression.”

“When people celebrate the myth of Thanksgiving, they are not only erasing our genocide but also celebrating it. We did not simply fade into the background as the Thanksgiving myth says. We have survived and flourished. We have persevered,” she declared.

“That first Day of Mourning in 1970 was a powerful demonstration of Native unity,” she said, “and it has continued for all these years as a powerful demonstration of Indigenous unity and of the unity of all people who speak truth to power.”

James noted that “many of the conditions that prevailed in Indian Country in 1970 still prevail today,” pointing to life expectancy, suicide, and infant mortality rates—along with the rising death rate for Native women—and taking aim at racism and “the oppression of a capitalist system which forces people to make a bitter choice between heating and eating.”

“And we will continue to gather on this hill until we are free from the oppressive system; until corporations and the U.S. military stop polluting the Earth; until we dismantle the brutal apparatus of mass incarceration,” James vowed.

“We will not stop,” she said, “until the oppression of our LGBTQ siblings is a thing of the past; until unhoused people have homes; until human beings are no longer locked in cages at the U.S. border despite the fact that no one is illegal on stolen land; until Palestine is free; until no person goes hungry or is left to die because they have little or no access to quality healthcare; until insulin is free; until union-busting is a thing of the past; until then, the struggle will continue.”

Writing about the annual event for The Lily last year, James explained that “my grandfather was heroic, and I am proud to be his granddaughter and help lead UAINE as we continue our work. But I also have noticed over the years, and especially while going through old newspaper clippings, that for decades the media often focused solely on the men as spokespeople and organizers of National Day of Mourning.”

She continued:

In recent years, my mother and I have worked to ensure that women’s voices, as well as those of two-spirit and LGBTQ people, are amplified at the National Day of Mourning. When I look at the Line 3 struggle or at the Indigenous people who were on the streets in Glasgow demanding climate justice, I see Indigenous people of all ages, and especially women and two-spirit leaders, as part of a continuum of resistance leading into the future.

Women have long been at the center of Indigenous activism, and are respected and revered within many traditional Indigenous cultures as leaders and culture-bearers—even if they were silenced by settlers. That’s why it’s crucial for our voices to be amplified within modern-day movements, especially because settler-colonial violence continues to disproportionately impact women, as evidenced by the ongoing epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in the United States and Canada.

James pledged that “we will not stop telling the truth about the Thanksgiving story and what happened to our ancestors.”

The gathering in Massachusetts was not the only annual Indigenous-led event held Thursday.

Lakota historian Nick Estes—a citizen of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, co-founder of the Red Nation, and author of the book Our History Is the Future—tweeted: “On the East Coast, there is the National Day of Mourning. On the West Coast, today is marked by a sunrise ceremony to commemorate the Alcatraz Island takeover by the Indians of All Tribes in 1969.”

“The reclaiming of Alcatraz… I call it one of the original ‘land back’ movements,” Morning Star Gali, the community liaison coordinator for the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), told Axios. “Alcatraz represented the lack of housing, the lack of education, the lack of having access to healthy food and clean water. None of that existed on the island.”

The purpose of the 43rd annual Indigenous Peoples Thanksgiving Sunrise Gathering on Alcatraz Island, Ohlone Territory—hosted by IITC—is “to celebrate our resilience, resistance, and survival and to affirm truth in history,” Gali wrote earlier this week for the San Francisco Examiner.

According to Gali:

Many Americans prefer a skewed retelling of Thanksgiving over the painful and shameful truth, because viewing the Day of Mourning through the lens of tribal people challenges their role in the continuing colonization of Native people in the United States and around the world. This includes appropriation of lands and resources, strategic disempowerment, and dehumanization of Indigenous people.

During the fall-themed holiday, the average American consumes 3,000 calories in celebration of an abundance of resources, while at the same time a recent study by the Native American Agricultural Fund found that 56% of Native people reported food insecurity during the pandemic. Many tribal nations in rural reservations have been designated as “food deserts” with lack of access to affordable, healthy, and traditional foods, resulting in diabetes and other poor health outcomes. Thanksgiving is the embodiment of Eurocentrism, overindulgence, and complete disregard for the trauma and lived experiences of Indigenous people.

“Today, Native people are disproportionately incarcerated in comparison to other racial and ethnic groups—double the incarceration of whites. Criminalization and confinement of Native people, Native women and youth in particular, is as American as apple pie,” she added. “To gather diverse people and cultures in Indigenous-led prayer and solidarity on the island turns the notion of colonial Thanksgiving on its head and asserts the interconnection and resilience of Indigenous people, cultures, and lands.”

Republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Continue ReadingIndigenous People Push Back Against US ‘Thanksgiving Mythology’

What is Dissociative Identity Disorder?

I was discussing this with Consultant ‘Ed’ at Southfields Hospital on Tuesday. I think but am not really certain whether he was genuinely interested. I think that he was certainly trying to suss me out, see what makes me tick. I didn’t give him the best explanation because he had shouted at me unnecessarily minutes earlier.

It’s worth pointing out to start with that the knowledge domain of medicine is so vast that practitioners specialise in specialist areas. So Ed would probably have been a cardiologist, possibly also a Heart Surgeon. Madeleine McCann’s father was a Heart Surgeon (but I also suspect that he had other relationships with her). So Ed asked me about Dissociative Identity Disorder and then almost immediately moved onto Multiple Personality Disorder.

The American Psychological Society defines and classifies mental illnesses in it’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual(s). Multiple Personality Disorder is the older name for Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) in the DSMs and the change is significant. DID is no longer considered a personality disorder and the emphasis now is about different aspects of one’s identity not being integrated well. It’s also a single identity not plural identities.

There are two main sources of mental illnesses – childhood trauma or battles in warfare. So we’re concerned with childhood trauma here and warfare would typically cause PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Imagine that you’re a child or even an infant in an intolerable situation. My earliest memory is when I was aged 2 and I’ve had psychologists tell me that it can’t be because you can’t remember that early. It must have affected me so much then to cause me to remember years before anyone is able to.

So if you find yourself in an intolerable situation you employ what is known as a coping mechanism. The coping mechanism in DID is to change yourself so that you’re able to tolerate the otherwise intolerable situation. Then when the next intolerable situation presents itself, you change yourself again. This results in a disjointed, interrupted individual where the pieces are not well joined continuously to each other. There’s your Dissociative Identity Disorder.

ed: This is the brief explanation. I don’t go as far as “… the presence of other identities, each with their own names, voices, personal histories and mannerisms” and that seems to be more like the older meaning. I find that I am sometimes not able to whistle.

12/11/22 8.25am One aspect that I’ve noticed and never seen documented is that I present physical illnesses atypically, as if the normal rules don’t apply. Hope that will be the case since Myocardial infarction is usually quite serious.

13/11/22 I wasn’t thinking straight last week because I was in pain, now I’m on my sixth day of stopping smoking …

Do I experience uncontrollable switches in mood or thinking? Yes, I think far less now that I have insight. Think that I’ve lost at least one job over it.

Continue ReadingWhat is Dissociative Identity Disorder?

Coming soon

Image from and links to EFF reads "keep on blogging"

Think that might scare people and good ;)

Artwork by Lichty 1994. Caption reads "All hypotheses of political manipulation are reversible in an endless whirligig....."
Artwork by Lichty 1994. Caption reads “All hypotheses of political manipulation are reversible in an endless whirligig…..”

I want a do an article probably called Carry on Blogging – named after the classic British Carry on films ;)

Image of cowboys. Cowboys is a slang UK term for building tradesmen who do inferior quality work.

Don’t wait for it if you want to start blogging, just go for it.

Some quick tips, get a good, quick blogging host, doesn’t cost much, don’t take it too seriously ;)

Image of Tory idiot Boris Johnson
Tory idiot Boris Johnson
Image of a Great White Shark

ed: That’s a Great White Shark that is, seems that some people are a bit touchy about Great White Sharks. Best not to touch them rily, they’re gorgeous, aren’t they? ed: If you’re touchy about Great White Sharks, get over it.

10/11/22 I’ve been quite ill lately so it hasn’t happened. X

Continue ReadingComing soon

Just Stop Oil (and a bit of Beltane threat)

[1/11/22 Apologies, it’s not Beltane at all. Samhain. I write some of my best stuff when I’m drunk but you do get the occasional massive blooper. Well, perhaps one ;) The rest is correct and stands.]

I was protesting with Just Stop Oil today in the Westminster area of London. I wasn’t involved with the earlier more radical Just Stop Oil actions and have yet to catch up with what happened tbh. I participated in marches along Whithall, around Parliament Square and along Victoria Street. What I saw was the on Victoria Street was a heavy police presence that respected the right to protest and acted appropriately. Three people were arrested there, we’ll see. I wasn’t arrested and quite glad that I wasn’t tbh. I was very impressed with the way Just Stop Oil facilitated the protest.

I’m making some progress with the Coming soon, why are governments not taking any action. I’m coming to the conclusion that it’s about public (private) scholing. There are two issues here – that public school teaches rich, privileged pupils that they can ignore reality and secondly that they will not be held responsible for their actions.

So public school shits ignoring reality means that they can ignore the reality of climate change. I was pleased to have the open mike at Victoria Street and said that the reality of climate change is that we have experienced climate change with 40 degree temperatures in UK although we have had it very easy so far compared to the rest of the World. I also said that all adults have a responsibility to future generations.

On the second point about not being held responsible for their actions, the time for action is now. I have got a particularly grusome vision of holding men responsible for their actions for destroying our World. UK has a particular grusome history of nasty torture/killing but I think that I might do better.

Continue ReadingJust Stop Oil (and a bit of Beltane threat)