Countdown to Thanksgiving Day 2: Teaching With Turkey

Sometimes I wonder how – as Americans – we can pride ourselves on education and history, and yet at the same time completely ignore facts. You can say this for just about anything we deal with in American culture – politics, medicine, social norms. But for now let’s stick to the genocide of the Native Americans.

When Thanksgiving comes, we all do the usual traditions. We dress our kids up in little pilgrim and Indian hats. We teach them to be thankful for their iPhone5s. We tell them that they are unAmerican if they do not eat three times their recommended caloric intake for the day. We dress them in warm clothes to sit outside the Beanie Baby Outlet overnight to get Black Friday deals come the next morning.

But we just totally gloss over the genocide of the Native Americans that the early settlers – without a doubt – committed.

I know, I know – I’m such a Debbie Downer. How dare I talk about something the American people did in a negative vein? How dare I use terms like genocide to describe the annihilation and displacement of an entire nation of people. They wanted to be murdered, cheated, and stolen from, right? It was totally fair to give them blankets covered in small pox to stay warm!

OK, I’m getting off on a little tangent; let me get back to the point. So I plan on teaching this year through turkey. Specifically, when I cook my grandiose Thanksgiving meal, I’ll be labeling everything much like I did at our Thanksgiving party the other night. Now the other night I did normal titles. BLT bites. Turkey meatballs in cranberry sauce. Moroccan vanilla bean cupcakes crusted in sea salt and coated with a hint of caramel icing (we Californians like our adjectives when describing our food).

But Thursday, I’m going with history. Here’s what’s on the menu:

Steal My Land Starters

This will be your typical tray of olives and classic spinach and artichoke dip, with slices of baguette for spreading. But instead of thinking about the calories, we’ll be engaging in discussion on just what it meant for the settlers to steal the land from the Native Americans.

Massacre Mashed Side Dishes

The first massacre ordered of the Native Americans was in 1637, of the Pequot people. What is particularly sad about this is that the settlers very much depended on the help of the Native Americans in those earliest years for survival. So as we shovel mounds of butter and saturated fat-filled gravy all over our mashed potatoes; groan as we wallow in our corn souffle and mashy green bean casserole, we’ll be discussing just how a friendly gesture on the part of the Native Americans was all for naught in the end.

The Truth Hurts Turkey and Ham

I’m making both turkey and ham this year, but it will not be coming without a lesson. Interestingly enough, Thanksgiving was a tradition that the Native Americans taught the earliest settlers. Rather than a feast of excessive adjectives covered in asiago cheese and animal fats that were not even around the continent yet, the Natives celebrated their harvests with these Thanksgiving feasts, consisting mostly of what they had grown and hunted. And it wasn’t just a once a year thing in November; it was regularly and frequently through the course of the harvest season.

“Ironic” how we murdered and sequestered all of them; yet, still claim their tradition for our own. But far be it for me to discuss the truth. That would hurt.

Small Pox Pie

I’m making a classic pumpkin pie and that’s it for the desserts here. Then after my father heads home to watch football, we are heading over to the in-law’s for more desserts. So the only thing I will be serving is small pox pie.

No, my pie will not actually contain small pox; but it will be representative of perhaps the most aggregious of acts on the part of the European settlers (and there were many). At a certain point in the American Indian Wars, the settlers knew that the Native Americans had advantages over them – they were used to the climate; they understood the terrain of the land. What the Native Americans did not have, though, was an immunity to Western disease, small pox in particular.

So what did those lilly-livered fucktards do? They wrapped their blankets around people sick with small pox, then had people who were more immune to the disease take them to the Native Americans as an “offering.” Badabing, badabang – an entire sector of people were wiped out. Pretty fucked up if you ask me.

So I know this is grim. And I am aware that I’ve now created a downtrodden tone going into your Thanksgiving feast this Thursday. I’m sure many of you will unfollow me or call me unAmerican. But as you faithful blog followers eat your food and drink your drink; as you line up at that Beanie Baby Outlet, it’s OK to accept the facts and take a moment to respect the great loss of an entire nation of people. It isn’t unAmerican to accept education and history for what it is. After all, isn’t that what we pride ourselves on?

Thanksgiving: a Day of Murder

Kill the turkey!  Kill it now!

Okay, that’s not really what I’m talking about, but then again maybe it is.  Every year, we Americans kill an unprecedented number of poor, innocent turkeys – bred and fattened up to feed our already-fattened bellies.  The average American will eat roughly three times their daily caloric intake on Thanksgiving in honor of a holiday many do not even know the meaning behind (28% surveyed actually have an ‘idea’ of it, according to recent polling).  So here’s a little history lesson for all you over-indulgers out there.  Possibly you will think twice before shoveling more mashed potatoes and dinner rolls down your gullet in “thanks” for everything we have here:

There was no actual Thanksgiving feast with the Native Americans and the original white settlers on the fourth Thursday in November, in the context we celebrate it now.  All those plays you did in elementary school where the pilgrims and Indians broke bread in communion are full of shit, at least in regards to the Thanksgiving feast we have now.  The Thanksgiving we have now originated in 1863 – that is over two centuries after the pilgrims first settled in Jamestown.  It was declared by President Lincoln to be a celebration of our glorious nation, toward the end of the Civil War.  That pilgrim and Indian thing was actually the “First Thanksgiving,” which we do not celebrate and is in absolutely no accordance with the fourth Thursday in November.

The First Thanksgiving was a meal between Native Americans and pilgrims, but was a tradition brought over from England giving thanks to God for a healthy crop, and happened multiple times per year at random.  It also likely had no goddamned turkey on the table, that being a rare delicacy to the European settlers until later integration with the Native Americans occurred.  (And by integration I of course mean complete take-over by the settlers.)

Christopher Columbus was a fucking asshole.  Seriously, the guy was a murderer and a slave driver; he in essence began a long series of Anglo-Saxon oppressions on the Native Americans.  To be clear, what the European settlers did to the Native American people was genocide.  For years we were taught that Thanksgiving is a time when we are thankful to the Indian people for showing us their ways and helping us survive in an uncharted land.  The truth, though, is that we are thankful for being clever enough to kill off the majority of the Indian people with blankets covered in the small pox virus so that one day we would be able to segregate them into restricted areas, leaving us the vast remainder stolen land.

A celebration in thanks of God for a good crop has not a goddamned thing to do with football, family, or the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Seriously, every year we are guilted into spending thousands of dollars to head home for Thanksgiving when very few of the people that ever shared Thanksgivings in the original or post-Civil War sense were actually family.  When did this become another family holiday?  Football and parades have somehow become wrapped up in the entire day as well – two things I will never understand.  This is just another example of Americans taking something that someone else does and making it their own; then taking all the credit for it and pretending it was theirs all along.

So to review:

Thanksgiving as we know it now did not begin until after the Civil War.

Pilgrims did not host parades carrying large Peanuts balloons, nor did the Native Americans toss around a pigskin on national television.

Thanksgiving is a day of genocide and murder.  Genocide of the Native Americans; murder of millions of turkeys.

 

So enjoy your turkey smothered in gravy and trans fats, but leave your pilgrim hat at home this year.  Let’s call it for what it really is just this once.  Gobble gobble, mother fuckers.