For Poets United, who asked for words about gifts, a different take.
MY GIFT TO YOU THIS THANKSGIVING: The gift of awareness, of the lies we have been taught in our schools, of the ways we can open our eyes and take action, even this late in Gaia’s game.
Call me a spoilsport, but, speaking as a person whose ancestors (ugh) came over on the (yikes) Mayflower (apologies to all Native Americans), the Thanksgiving we celebrate every year never happened. Actually, while the indigenous peoples taught the invaders (Columbus didn’t “discover” America, after all) how to plant the seeds and cultivate crops, as well as introducing them to the most hallowed of all indigenous creatures, the turkey… The Anglos paid back by enslaving their hosts, cheating them out of land “rights.”
Native Americans didn’t understand the concept of land ownership – although there were vague understandings of tribal boundaries, tribes would emigrate to the South during cold months and travel North for the yearly planting and hunting. They felt they were guests on this earth, and they treated the environment with much respect, always thinking generations ahead.
It has taken little more than two hundred years for our European ancestors to lay waste to most of this country. Even the pristeen wild fields are now endangered by hydrofracturing (creating earthquakes in order to release “natural gas.” It’s only natural if it’s underground, where it belongs… and drilling through bedrock and water tables is polluting millions of gallons of our only sources of potable water. Soon, you may see yourself buying it all from the Big Guys, who are bottling it out from under us as we speak.).
SO WHY GIVE THANKS? Because we have choices, voices. We can stop war, stop the rape of our environment, stop all the destruction, if only we get off our butts after Black Friday and Turkey Day and the ensuing football games.
WE CAN HOLD OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS ACCOUNTABLE. And yes, that includes President Obama, who needs to be reminded that there is no such thing as “clean coal,” same as “natural gas.” We need to start hunkering down on AMERICAN-MADE solar panels and wind turbines, get them onto the main power grid. We can work for better conditions for the people “on the rez,” from whom we stole the land in the first place.
We need to honor this country, the country we praise, this precious land, the reason we give thanks in the first place.
I will be taking a break this weekend to count my blessings (especially for my community of poets, my groups of rowdy activists, and the results of the last election, as well as Lex, Riley, and my wonderful birth family and family through two marriages). And I will be reading, only. Catching up on what others have commented on my blog, reading work on sites to which I have contributed but whose lists of poets I have not completely read.
Peace now – action to come… Amy