Thanksgiving is intended be a day of giving thanks.
Today, I’m grateful as I always am for the love of family and friends.
I’m thankful for mercies of health and vitality that God still grants me.
But to keep it all the way real on this Thanksgiving, I feel shame.
I feel disgust. I feel anger.
I’m angry because on this holiday that is born out of our country’s historic mass rape, murder and land theft, our government and our citizens seem to be largely uninterested that the same damn thing is happening today to the Native tribes and water protectors currently in North Dakota.
If you didn’t know, protestors have been exercising their right to assemble against the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline through Native land.
The building of this pipeline not only violates an 1851 treaty that reserved this land for Native ownership but it also encroaches the boundaries of human decency as the pipeline’s presence makes the nearby water and land very susceptible to oil contamination.
How would that make you feel?
What if a giant oil company wanted to build a pipeline through your back yard?
What if they violated the rights to your property, dug underground, destroyed the makeshift grave you made for your grandma or your puppy and threatened the cleanliness of your drinking water in the process?
Well that’s exactly whats happening in North Dakota but to a much larger degree.
Right now, environmental racism is rearing it’s ugly head against our peaceful Native neighbors.
But what makes me so angry is that most of our country, our news media and our President just don’t seem to care.
Predictably, conservative Republicans don’t see a problem with the continued disrespect of planet earth as they often defend wealthy corporations over human beings. An attitude demonstrated by their constant support of candidates who favor the wealthy over the middle class & poor.
But what’s most sickening is the indifference displayed by our president and many of his most steadfast supporters, especially middle class, “post-racial” Black Americans who choose to abandon the rich African American legacy of defending the abused and the oppressed.
Now, Black folks are used to being ignored and marginalized by our government.
It’s in fact why many in the African American community insist on making excuses for President Obama when it comes to his lack of effectiveness for African Americans.
The thinking being that because President Obama is the Pres. of ALL AMERICANS, that Black people shouldn’t expect any substantive or meaningful attention paid to our disproportionate treatment in America.
But surely there is a minority group that most people wouldn’t dare to ignore..
Surely we won’t abandon Native Americans right?
Aren’t they a group that most Americans are on board in agreement about their mistreatment?
Urban outfitters has gentrified native symbols into our sub-conciouness so much that I assumed that their would be a groundswell of millineial solidarity, at least on a superficial level.
Even President Obama, Mr. Cool himself uses “woke” descriptors like “First Americans” to describe our Native brothers and sisters. Surely we could count on him to lead the way in their defense.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
Just f****** wrong.
Much like he’s done when conscious African Americans demand that he be more effective and accountable on the issues of segregation & Black despair , President Obama has given Natives his ass to kiss.
Not only has he offered soft resolution and weak enforcement of the laws as they pertain to the Native land, but as of the publishing of this article, he has said nothing in response to the North Dakota State police’s unethical brutality towards peaceful protectors on Monday night.
No one mumbling word.
While he was busy pardoning a damn bird
The Sioux people were still begging for the empathy afforded to Presidential chickens.
While many of you watch the Cowboys play the offensively named “Redskins”
(how’s that for an American tradition?)
the people whom we are led to believe this holiday honors in some way honor are watching their home be occupied and resources compromised.
While many of us were able to enjoy the parade while drinking our favorite teas, hot chocolate or other beverage indulgences, Native people are being assaulted for simply attempting to protect our water. Not just “their” water. The water that WE ALL share.
Even I am afforded comfort as I am able to freely exercise my right to free speech and protest while the water protectors of North Dakota are being shot, gassed, frozen and maimed for doing the same.
Today, I’m thankful for much.
but I’m also sick to my damn stomach.
Like I said, the Fox News/ Republican apathy on this issue is not surprising.
But Democrats and so called liberals who are too busy being swept up in shiny, feel- good Obama symbolism and charming dance moves, have abandoned their social justice instincts that ordinarily would command them to raise their voices in disapproval.
Can you imagine the response if these atrocities had been taking place under a Bush presidency or during Trump’s tenure??
But sadly, the chase towards civil rights and social justice finds many of my Democratic friends slipping in the puddles of their own presidential drool.
I’m a Christian.
I know that God is real.
I believe in Jesus Christ with my whole heart.
No matter what scorn or ridicule such a statement may yield.
But I am disgusted by so-called people of faith, both Republican and Democrats- turning a blind eye to the daily sufferings of Black and Brown people all because it inconveniences their patriotic tendencies or accosts their sugar-coated faces of “hope” and “change”.
What we are witnessing in Standing Rock is an abomination of unquantifiable proportions.
Far be it for me to get all holier-than thou about civil rights.
It’s also not my desire to act as if social media is the only measurable extent to determine one’s commitment to a particular issue.
But if you have been an apologist for this President’s ineffectiveness and weak use of his powerful position to improve the conditions of the suffering
then please spare me your b.s. statuses about Thanksgiving being a lie and the pilgrims, imperialism, how “woke” you are etc. yada, yada…
Such claims are true.
But our Native brothers and sisters are suffering through a modern day Christopher Columbus while you’d rather talk about how much you’ll miss watching Obama do the cha-cha slide instead of holding him accountable for ignoring the most vulnerable among us.
There are ways that we can help make a difference and make our voices heard
Here are just a few. Please take time to give in whatever way feels harmonious with your time, money and spirit.
Habiliment & Supplies
Braving the cold for weeks and months in defense of human rights and the environment doesn’t come without need or sacrifice. Here are a some funds to which you can contribute.
Sacred Stones Camp Needed Supplies
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Fund
Help For Healing
Many water protectors have been injured after enduring rubber bullets, water blasts from police in freezing temperatures and other forms of assault.
One such victim is Sophia Wilansky who suffered critical injury to her arm after being hit with a concussion grenade. As of now, it isn’t clear if she’ll lose her arm or not. The below gofundme campaign is devoted to help with her medical expenses.
Let Your Voice Be Heard!!
From the White House, to The North Dakota Governor to the Army Corps of Engineers, there are a myriad of phone numbers, email addresses and petitions out there for you to be counted. Much like every vote counts, every voice counts! Don’t lose yours!!
Tell President Obama to rescind the Army Corps of Engineers’ Permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Call the White House at (202) 456-1111 or (202) 456-1414.
Tell the Army Corps of Engineers to reverse the permit granted for the DAPL
Call the Army Corps of Engineers at (202) 761-5903
Tell the Governor of North Dakota to cease the use of uneccesary police force and to stand with the citizens and water of his state.
Call North Dakota governor Jack Dalrymple at 701-328-2200.
Governor’s office email : https://www.governor.nd.gov/contact-us