Thanksgiving, Traditions, Native Americans and Evolved Self Definitions

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It’s that time of year again.  The heaviest travel day in the United States.  The time when family and friends gather to feast, mingle, catch up, argue and watch a little football. Since the expansion of social media, it’s also the time where we are reminded of the horrific tragedy that befell our original citizens, the Native Americans.  The memes are have been prepared with care, ready to remind America of just one of it’s original sins.

I get it.  As a matter of fact, I endorse the expressions of truth regarding the historically accurate facts of our nations history and hypocrisies.  Those that know me, know that I do that just about everyday.

But there is another side to this as well.  As a people, especially people who have been the abused, the tortured, the terrorized and murdered, those who have been placed in the under caste status; Those of us who have survived in spite of the fact that we are still in a battle for our lives; With our ingenuity and ability to adapt on the run, we have managed to turn what was originally a negative into our own divine positive.

I remember as a boy in school hearing that story about the pilgrims and the settlers.  I remember drawing turkeys by tracing the body and head around my spread apart hand.  Like every  other school kid, that part about the small pox blankets and slaughters were left out.  But you know what, growing up at MY house, we never talked about that crap anyway.  For my parents, grandparents, aunts and elders, it was about the fellowship around a meal that took several hours of hard work and dedication to perfect.  (Or at least try to perfect)

Listen, as a people, even as we come into new knowledge, we should also embrace our abilities to make lemonade out of lemons, sugar out of sh#!  And you know what, there is no need for us to apologize for it. One of my biggest realizations in life is that two things can be true at the exact same time.  Yes Thanksgiving as is being told to us traditionally is a farce.  One could compare it to the Nazi’s telling a false narrative of how they collaborated with Jews in Europe.  We should know that history.  Equally true, is that like many other things in life, we as a people have created our own narratives and definitions thereby turning a tragedy upon its head and making our empowering choices work for us.

I’m a social and political warrior.  Many of you are.  Even in war time, troops get leave, rest.  In order to fight the long game and not die of exhaustion, you must come away.  Traditions are neither good nor bad. They are the product of who and what we decide to make them to be.  Though I am mindful to thankful everyday, there is something good about much of our activities stopping, folk taking the time to slow down, be present and enjoy a few moments where we are all focusing on the same things.  I can do that and still fight for and stand with Standing Rock.

Bless You All~

My Favorite Old School One Liners!

I have never been into Thanksgiving because of the way the holiday is portrayed vs. the reality of the relationship between the Native Americans and the settlers from Western Europe.  Truthfully it’s merely a welcome “off day” for me.  But the one cool thing about Thanksgiving is that it gives family a chance to gather.  For some they would rather stay away from family, but with my schedule in life, I generally don’t get the chance to see them.  The holiday presents an opportunity for everyone to gather in the same space for a short period of time.  Sort of a mini-family reunion.

Back in the day I was the little kid running around with my cousins.  Now I am a part of the grown folk.  There are still a few remaining elders among us, and seeing them reminds me of the things they used to say.  During these times when the “grown folk” get together, I reminisce about the funny antidotes they used to say when talking to us or to one another or to us.  The feisty and clever one liners.  I will offer a few of my favorites… feel free to share some of yours too! 

First I will give you the line, and then the interpretation behind it.   Enjoy!

Everybody thats grinnin ain’t smiling.  (For recognizing the difference between friends and those who pretend to be friends.

A stitch in time saves nine. (The virtues of dealing with any task early as opposed to later after major damage is done.)

You don’t think fat meat greasy! (That is when a person is being hard headed.  In other words he/she continues to do something that could bring danger and possibly a whooping!)

Imma give ya something to cry for! (This is when a child cries for a reason that doesn’t merit crying.  A whooping is forth coming if the crying doesn’t immediately stop)

What are we eating?  Mustgo!  Whatever didn’t go yesterday, must-go today!  (My grandmother the late Georgia Moore when she wasn’t hearing the thought of cooking that night.)

And My Personal Favorite~

Ain’t nothing open after midnight but legs!  (Old school classic for enforcing curfew.  If your home after midnight, you must have been screwing.)

Give me some more family!