Wednesday, November 29, 2006
I know this is almost a week late, but I have some time to write a little tonight so my Thanksgiving reflections are finally coming out. A couple of months ago Shey got me the above t-shirt after seeing it at a very random experience in rural Ohio. We were with Shey's grandparents in a poor coal mining and river town for a visit, and our first night out we went to an auction for the possessions and estate of a woman who had recently passed away. It was the event of the little town that night, and it was a very surreal experience. Things were being sold that most people would never think of ever buying, i.e. boxes and cartons of little trinkets, broken stuff, lots of little pieces of junk, and eventually the woman's house. It was kind of a crazy event, with various people buying lots of junk...but I happened to look over at one man who was standing on the outskirts of the event with a couple of people talking and caught a glimpse of this shirt, and was floored.
It's such a powerful and wonderfully insightful shirt. He and his shirt just didn't seem to fit in with the American-flag lined streets, the poverty, and small rural town vibe. Nevertheless, we chalked the whole night up to one of those weird experiences, that just happened to give us insight into some deeper stories that run through the history of our country. And Shey in a great surprise, didn't forget that night or that shirt and bought me one of these shirts a couple of months ago.
All this to say, that over the last week, and with the students I work with, we began to talk about you know "the meaning of Thanksgiving" and all that jazz. And as I told some of the students about this shirt, we began to discuss how it would be good if we began to tell the story of the plight, genocide and racism that informs (yet does not tell the whole story) of Thanksgiving. How powerful would it be for us to begin to incorporate in our traditions at this time to include and give voice to those whose voice was taken away, and certainly cornered onto reservations...How can we make sure that their story is not lost or forgotten? One of the ways we discussed is to simply tell their story, to recall the sin that took place in the plight of many Native Americans. Another was to continue to build awareness with our family and friends.
This t-shirt is a simple way to continue to tell their story, and much of the proceeds go towards work in bettering reservations, and giving them a voice...to check out this shirt, and many other mediums of the same message go to: The Native Press.
Hope you had a good Thanksgiving. Sorry for the late post. I'll try to post about Christmas by February.