December 9, 2016
Two weeks ago, Thanksgiving changed into sadness for me, only because of what’s happening at Standing Rock to the Indigenous people of different tribal nations. The harm they (the National Guard, the DAPL, and the armed police with their machines, barbed wire, and blocked roads) inflicted with rubber bullets, hosing people in dangerous freezing weather, and making arrests shows us who our peaceful Native people are dealing with. We will not fight, but we will stand our ground.
Indigenous people are the peaceful PROTECTORS for all Americans. We are fighting for clean waters and our sacred places. Our treaties should have been honored by the United States government, but it has broken them for so long. The corporations and the government are rising against our people, and that’s a shame. Is the U.S. trying to cause a civil war? How shameful, but at least we, the Indigenous people are citizens of the United States (although most do not claim to be American citizens, but citizens of our own sovereign tribes).
Two weeks ago, Thanksgiving extended beyond our individual families and out to our Indigenous Natives, who were standing in harm’s way. When do the peaceful, prayerful Indigenous people ever turn violent? We hadn’t, but the police have turned Standing Rock into a battlefield, a seven month long battle, and we stood our ground peacefully. It’s not over yet. The DAPL may have halted work at Standing Rock, but it is still drilling at another location.
Many Veterans came to Standing Rock to stand with the people, and I am honored that they asked for our forgiveness. The United States government has failed to do so. Will they ever?
Never have the treaties been upheld, not for last couple hundred years or more. How long must this go on? We shall rise up and stand. We’ve been quiet for so long, but at last we are standing up TOGETHER. I feel my heart swelling with love for the Indigenous people at Standing Rock. They are my brothers and sisters.
This past Thanksgiving, and still even now, my heart beats in time with the Standing Rock tribe during their time of trouble. We are a nation of many cultures that have blended into today’s people. Honoring Indigenous people is the right thing to do, as they were here long before Europeans came along.
I’ve read some interesting articles recently. Some Natives have been discussing what they feel about “Thanksgiving,” and it seems as if the tide has turned. Two years ago, I wrote about how we Indigenous people don’t usually mark this particular holiday, which has so many negative connotations for us. This year, however, we are thankful that all tribes came together to help the PROTECTORS fight the giant snake of oil that could poison the water for our future children.
For the Indigenous people, this Thanksgiving will go down in history, just like Wounded Knee. We will never forget what’s happening at Standing Rock. We all must HELP them, as they are helping to protect the WATER.
I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but I’m thankful to the Indigenous people for standing up for their water, our water, and for their sacred places.
Mary Knuckles is a Cherokee Native with affinity for all Indigenous people of Turtle Island (North America).
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