November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving (RWP #102)

(photo courtesy of Photobucket)
This poem only loosely follows the prompt idea, but is part of my "Native American" series. Thursday November 26th is "Thanksgiving"- the American holiday where we celebrate hoodwinking the Indians, so this poem seems somehow appropriate.

From Buffalo Soldiers to
the Trail of Tears,
we came to conquer-
to steal away everything.
Trading their noble lives for
sugar, whiskey and our one God.
Forcing it down through clenched teeth,
a poisonous drug -making them crave it.
Instead of maize, pinon and venison,
they eat potato chips, twinkies and bologna.
Their reverence of nature replaced with
the arrogance of church spires.
Killing them with our ways, our insidious gifts,
in a centuries long “Final Solution“.

17 comments:

  1. How do you keep a people down? You 'never' let them 'know' their history.

    Keep telling that history; read some great military history.

    The 7th Cavalry got their butts in a sling again after the Little Big Horn Massacre, fourteen years later, the day after the Wounded Knee Massacre. If it wasn't for the 9th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers, there would of been a second massacre of the 7th Cavalry. Read the book, ‘Rescue at Pine Ridge”, and visit website/great military history, http://www.rescueatpineridge.com

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  2. Hi Cynthia,

    And Happy Thanksgiving to you too! Not a nice repast to have to swallow - but a good poem!

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  3. Cynthia, thanks for a moving reminder that the bounty we rightfully, gratefully celebrate on Thanksgiving is complicated by horrific history, much the way family dinners generally are complicated by the realities we bury in order to have the feast and honor our larger connections: an uncle's alcoholism and abuse of his wife; a cousin's sexual abuse of his niece. How do we manage to get through it and be together?

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  4. An important reminder. As much as I adore Thanksgiving, it's a made up holiday, promoted by a writer with little history to back it up.

    Still, I'm grateful for words, and stories, and feasts.

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  5. (Promoted as in the writer who made the case to Congress -- for over a year -- for creating the legal holiday.)

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  6. I'm not familiar with American history.I'll have to look up the Thanksgiving Day story.

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  7. i like the visual , it almost builds a tent.

    while I live in US, and I'll probably die here where my children were born, I do not consider myself "american". So I shifted the meaning of the holiday, there are always thinks to be grateful for...
    As for the native Indians, I think we (yes we) owe them more than just thanks. Yes, we owe them their history back, if that is still possible...

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  8. If it wasn't for our First Peoples we wouldn't have pumpkin pie. Squash is theirs as is caring for the environment and respecting our earth. Thank you for this reflection. I also like that it is shaped like a teepee! Happy Thanksgiving, Cynthia! =D

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  9. Beautifully done. The twinkies stand out like a slap in the face.

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  10. That poem could have been written about the Australian experience too.

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  11. Instead of maize, pinon and venison,
    they eat potato chips, twinkies and bologna.

    Thanks for this origins poem, Cynthia.

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  12. A sad but necessary and effective poetic examination of "Thanksgiving" from the Native American point of view.

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  13. :-( Sad. And here I show you my new blogspot blog specifically so I will be recognized at spaces like yours (even if I am hiding behind hand-art)

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  14. Well put... and so many people think it's just about the turkey and pumpkin pie and whatnot. :\

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  15. Great poem! One culture's day of thanksgiving is another's day of betrayal. Thanks for your post.

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  16. I like how you contrast the pre-invasion diet with the current one of so many impoverished people in the U.S. Those details bring home the sad, ironic history of this national holiday of feasting.

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  17. "the arrogance of church spires" is a really nice line!

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