Eugene Cho

Thanksgiving and Genocide? Let’s write and share a more honest story.

First of all, let me share how much I love the spirit of Thanksgiving.

How can you not?

The notion of being grateful and thankful is a beautiful thing. It’s a truth that transcends any gender, race, age, religion, etc. As a Christ follower, it resonates deeply in my understanding and identity.

But…

At the expense of being called a cynic, a hater, an angry Asian man, and [insert your words here], I still think it’s important and necessary to be mindful of the history, context, and stories of why we mark or celebrate certain “events.”

Truth be told, I have a difficult time acknowledging Thanksgiving – let alone, celebrate Thanksgiving – in its current ‘historical’ revision. I’ve been checking my heart for years why I can’t just go with the flow and to see the “redemptive” aspect of present day Thanksgiving.

Present day Thanksgiving – in its most minimal perspective – is to be thankful. That’s it. Gather with family and friends and go crazy on food. Football. Good memories. Early 5am treks to your favorite stores to get that crazy deal on Black Friday. And on and on.

But something’s off when we engage – directly or indirectly – in rewriting history. Or here it is: The loaded words…wait for it…wait for it…


Revisionist history.

Thanksgiving – in its original intent – was to mark a good harvest in the plight of the early Pilgrims. While there are disputes about specific dates, most point to the first gathering to the Fall of 1621 where the Pilgrims and [some] local Indians gathered (< 100) to celebrate a feast. Most are in agreement that the Indians were invited simply because the Pilgrims knew that they would have died had it not been for the help of the local Indians.

But things changed: Illegal Aliens or European Invasion.

While it is true that we’re not entirely sure all the specific details, those that we would now categorize as “illegal aliens” not only came without invitation but they came to take over. In fact, beyond the first joint “Thanksgiving,” there were no further meals of mutual peace, dependence, and friendship.

“Heathen Captives”

Eventually, what became common liturgy or words of thanksgiving involved the recognition and celebration of the colonists’ victory of “oppression” of the “heathen captives.”

Unfortunately, sources for news, media, and bloggers were pretty rare back then. The early arrivals of European invasion resulted in the deaths of 10 to 30 million native Indians. Maybe more.

10 to 30 million people.

What is the context of Thanksgiving?

The beginning of one of the worst human injustice – the suppression, oppression, and near annihilation of the Native Indians. In one word:

Genocide

There are too many statistics and stories to cite. But they are brutal. Absolutely brutal.

I’m not suggesting we not be thankful. But if it were up to me, I’d repeal the official day of Thanksgiving that was sanctioned by Congress because no matter how we want to re-tell or re-write that story, we are marking an event of injustice.

In removing this day, I’d encourage the whole country to express sorrow for such a grave injustice to the Native Indians and create events and various forms of curriculum in parallel. I’d express gratitude and celebration of the story and legacy of the native Indian people. And I’d put into law that ensures reparation for every single descendant of Native Indians. What kind of reparation? Here’s a simple one: I’d create a fund to guarantee 100% funding to college for any descendants of Native Indians – should they choose to accept it.

In my opinion, our treatment of the Native Indians is one of the greatest human tragedies and to ignore its story and context may be the pinnacle of historical revisionism.

What about Thanksgiving?

Not sure. But what I know for sure is that we need to write a better story. We need to tell a more honest story. We need to live a better story…

Lastly, watch this…please.

* this post was originally written on November 22, 2010

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80 Responses

  1. Emily says:

    Totally agree with you.

  2. LM says:

    You did it again.

    At the expense of “justice,” you forgotten to mention the good that came out of this story. Furthermore, I would argue with you that there are certain things in the human race that are inevitable. What took place was inevitable.

    • Not sure what you mean by “inevitable”.

      Like slavery of Africans was also inevitable, but I should be thankful that Africans at least made it to America in one piece.

      Like slavery of five year old Cambodian boys and girls is also inevitable because of the oppressive history of devaluing children in that country and the pedefilia of European men that feeds this lustful craving.

      Whatever you mean by inevitable it sure has nothing to do with people who are being oppressed and everything to do with the people who benefit from that oppression.

    • Rod of Alexandria says:

      In the words of Reverend MLK Jr., Nothing is inevitable.

      • Janers says:

        Thanks to some of you for having sense. So the rest of you, it wouldn’t matter if someone came & killed your family/friends & you & stole your stuff & moved in your home because they wanted it or you were “inferior” (or of a different race/religion)? After all, it was inevitible & survival of the fittest (try telling that to a judge/jury)… O_O people are responsible for what they do including the messes they leave behind. It is the irresponsible mindset of a 2-year-old or criminal not to think so. Obviously, you cannot fix/amend for everything (esp. the past actions of your ancestors & not your own, the past is in the past) but what you can clean up, you should, and for goodness sake, stop doing it! Those who don’t learn from history (or mistakes) are doomed to repeat them. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”

  3. Charles Lee says:

    Great thoughts friend. Love your suggestions as well.

    What are your thoughts on the overall idea of descendants of victims of injustice receiving benefits?

    What are the criteria for receiving and how many generations should benefit?

    Who would fund this and how?

    If this has a feasible plan, I would support it.

    • Eugene Cho says:

      hey charles,

      in an ideal world, we wouldn’t have descendants of victims of injustice. and while there are clearly evidence of dependency and unhealthy aspects, i also believe we have to consider and in some cases, pursue them.

      much would need to be sorted out but i believe it needs to happen.

      as for how this would be funded:

      one answer: taxpayers.

      i have benefited. my home sits in what once belonged to native indians. i am willing to ask my government to appropriate a % of taxpayer money for reparations & funds for health care, education, etc.

  4. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eugene Cho, Jonathan Stegall, andredaley, gifted thought, Christy McFarland and others. Christy McFarland said: rewriting history: thanksgiving and genocide http://t.co/UoXopOR // Extreme but extremity can allow small change to start. In the meantime: [...]

  5. Dave says:

    I appreciate the post. Here’s my thoughts:

    1. Can we ever redeem history? Or will continually live in the shadow of what our ancestors did centuries ago? My family did not come to America until after slavery ended. No one owned slaves in my family. Did we benefit from it? Yes. Did we benefit from the Pilgrim’s arrival? Yes. But is my place here any different from the emigrant from Thailand, Sudan or Ecuador?

    2. Can we have any “just” holidays? Just about everything we celebrate was at the expense of someone else: Passover (upon which Easter is built) has the Egyptians who died in the Red Sea & the Palestinians who were about to be slaughtered for living in the Promised Land, Purim has the Persians who were killed by the Israelites because they were of the same race as Mordecai, Christmas has all the baby boys who would die because Jesus was born.

    3. I agree that we haven’t done well at finding reconciliation and just with the Native Americans. We lived in Canada for a year while I served at a church & it’s not much better there. They do a slightly better job of taking care of the indigenous people, but they are still the worst off in the country. Has there been a strong Native voice on what they would like the government to do?

    4. I do believe we should have a day set aside for giving thanks, but I also believe that it should be a part of our daily lives.

    • Daniel S says:

      As a Canadian, let me comment on Native relations here. It’s difficult to generalize because the situation is significantly different across provinces, tribes, and even individual reservations. From our experience here, I would say that it is better for everyone to have a one-time final settlement and then let history be history rather than annual pay outs. For example, in my hometown, aboriginal students got cash payments for every year of high school they completed. What kind of a message does this send to students? That native kids need a financial incentive to stay in school–not exactly a good way to improve relations between natives and the rest of Canadians!
      On the other hand, the Inuit and some tribes in BC have come to an agreeable settlement with the federal government regarding some land claims (in the case of the Inuit, this resulted in the creation of Nunavut territory), and I believe these tribes are quite far ahead of average conditions for aboriginals.
      A couple of other points. Just this week, a report was released showing that approximately 80 native band chiefs/councillors are paid more than the prime minister. The way the federal government deals with native peoples provides plenty of openings for self-enrichment. It is not a model I would recommend at the present. Another thing is that a former housemate of mine spent a year teaching in a school on a remote (fly-in) reservation. It was the most disheartening time in his life. There were around 30 students registered in his class but fewer than 5 would be there on a typical day. Sadly these teenagers could scarcely write in coherent sentences. There are a whole bunch of factors behind the failure of education in this community (and too many like it), but surely one of them is that the federal government provides everything the people in that community need. They have no need of ever holding a job. Now, they may have a right to this support, due to treaty obligations and crimes that were committed against their ancestors, but it sure isn’t doing them any good.
      Yes, we should remember the past. But I don’t think that letting one group live off of guilt payments from the descendants of a group that sinned against their ancestors is a good way to move forward.

      Finally, let me suggest the apology and reparation made to Chinese Canadians for the head tax of 100 years ago (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_head_tax#Conservative_Government_Apology) is a reasonable model of how to deal with past national sins (I’ll be the first to admit that native relations are significantly more complicated).

    • Dave says:

      Dave, you hit the nail on the head. If you are a follower of history, it all started when Cain slew Abel and has continued to this day.
      We can do better than our ancestors and have in many ways, but there will always be those who thrive on digressing civilization.
      If circumstances were not improving in some way, there might be a bigger audience for this post.
      One doesn’t need to move very far to see reasons for being thankful.
      P.S. Did anyone point out the tribal ‘genocide’ from one clan to another? “Genocide” has become the neolinquistic “hate crime.” Which is worse: to kill a man because he is of a different race or to kill a man because you think he’s a jerk?
      If you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Posts such as this tend to divide people rather than bring them together.

  6. Tony Lin says:

    And not just the injustice that resulted in their genocide. But the current injustice that makes a total mockery of their culture. I have a kid in school this year and the number of Native American stereotypes that they are taught are just appalling. My daughter has already told her teacher that real American Indians don’t walk around with feathers and bows and arrows.

    If the Deadly Viper mess was offensive, imagine having to live with that your whole life… and no one stands up for you.

  7. elderj says:

    Or alternatively, we can thank God and promote thankfulness because God is the one who redeems and forgives our past. Indeed he is the only one who can bear the full weight of evil both past and present and who can bring us to reconciliation. All of us are descendants of either the conquered and the conquerors of some era, and some of us are descendants of both. Christians do have a different story of thanksgiving to tell: Thanks be to God I don’t have to carry the weight of the sins of my ancestors who bought and sold the bodies of my other ancestors, and nor do I have to harbor ongoing anger towards them.

    By the way, genocide is a strong term to use to describe the decimation of indigenous populations in the Americas in the post-Columbian era since the overwhelming majority of deaths were due to the unfortunate natural lack of immunity of indigenous populations to certain diseases. This was almost entirely unexpected and unintentional, although there were some acts that were intentional.

  8. elderj says:

    By the way, I HATE the mockery of indigenous culture and believe it to be the extremely evil

  9. Thought provoking.

    I’m a white guy who has more non-white friends than most of any race have outside their own culture. I have a biracial daughter. I was the executive pastor in a black church. No problem with race here.

    I know serve in New Mexico where we have many Native Americans. I see the devastation in their lives from their past, but also their inability and lack of desire to move forward socially and economically. As a pastor, it’s tough reaching them.

    1. No doubt they were done wrong. However, reparations? Please. My question will then be “how far are you willing to go with that?” What about blacks? Japanese Asians? And then, are we not already paying Natives through taxes in NM? I think so. An I’m not against it. I’m just saying it’s a slippery, noble slope that has no end game?

    Money won’t fix the problems nor reconcile wrongs from the past … contemporary culture, where we like it or not, has moved on from slavery and genocide of the past.

    2. Keep thanksgiving. Get your grill out and enjoy a day off. Why not? The day will happen with us or without us. Despite the sins of America, it’s still the best place in the world to live. And especially to be a Christian who wants to impact the nations. We can still be the instrument of God’s grace.

  10. [...] to Eugene and Randall for this TED talk] So- Thanksgiving is upon us once again, and the usual festivities [...]

  11. [...] don’t forget how America got its Thanksgiving [...]

  12. [...] of this holiday and that is something that I cannot be thankful for. It is the celebration of a revisionist history. Most people don’t think about it because the presence of turkey and stuffing, college [...]

  13. Lauren Rimkus says:

    Thanks for posting this, PE, and always sharing your heart. This resonates with me and my struggle with Thanksgiving perfectly. Blessings to you. See you Sunday!

  14. Thanks Eugene, I appreciate your perspective and love for Native people.

  15. [...]  Eugene Cho just posted an excellent reflection on similar ideas, and expands more on what makes me so uncomfortable…  There’s a TEDS [...]

  16. Greg says:

    It is always good not to forget the great injustices done to enable the growth and prosperity of our nation.

    Something I just learned is that President Lincoln proclaimed the official celebration of thanksgiving on its currently celebrated date near the turn of the Civil War. A snippet from his address:

    …observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

  17. [...] Rewriting history: thanksgiving and genocide by Eugene Cho. Cho makes an insightful comment: [...]

  18. [...] Eugene Cho on Thanksgiving and genocide [...]

  19. Jamie Steele says:

    The Native Americans were commiting Genocide on each other as well. Lest we forget. Agree with your post but they were conquering each other for land and superiority before the WHITE MAN came along..

  20. [...] of others” as Julie Clawson said yesterday. We need to stop rewriting history, as Eugene Cho said, and instead figure out how to create other ways to express [...]

  21. [...] so high awareness of the checkered history of the holiday and our history.  Some bloggers like Eugene Cho, who I greatly respect, call Thanksgiving a commemoration of [...]

  22. Let's Be Clear says:

    Calling Thanksgiving an act of revisionism is itself an act of revisionism. As Cho briefly acknowledged, the first Thanksgiving was a peaceful celebration in which the settlers invited the Native Americans. There was peace and good will between them.

    If in the years to follow white settlers began to take advantage of and wage war against the Native Americans, that doesn’t make the original Thanksgiving “the beginning of one of the worst human injustice.” The injustice had nothing to do with Thanksgiving. Would you blame Samuel’s anointing of David for the later sins of David and Bathsheba? Of course not. They’re not related.

    And as someone else pointed out, there’s something sour about going on about the white man’s violence against the Indians without a mention of the pre-existing violence of Indians against Indians. While there may have been some peaceful tribes, painting them all as peaceful victims is revisionist.

    Human history is full of war, abuse, and unspeakable evil on every front. Sin is utterly sinful, and there is no hope of redemption or freedom apart from Christ. I have little enthusiasm for reparations because the money would change nothing. But I would get fully behind any effort at a full-scale attempt to lift such people out of the societal suicide that they are now engaged in. That would involve money, but it would not be the simple transfer of wealth of reparations.

    • Andy M says:

      I cannot speak to the intent or actions of the Pilgrims who were there for the first Thanksgiving feast, so the question of whether it is the “beginning of one of the worst human injustice” is a valid point.

      And yes, the indians had their own problems, war and such, long before we came along.

      However, we cannot point to their sins as defense for our own. If I steal from Madoff, I’m still a thief, no matter what he did. So we cannot defend the white settlers who were often violent against the natives just because the natives were sometimes violent amongst themselves.

      It should be said that it does seem that some people paint a picture of pre-colonial native Americans as having some kind of simple “of the land” utopia. That is just bad history. But it still is not a defense for the grave injustice done by the colonials.

      My issue with Thanksgiving as it is often taught today, is that it is a partial view of history, leaving out the fact that poor treatment of the natives began shortly after that feast. This in my opinion, is done to increase our nationalistic fervor and self-image and we skip right over the injustice done to people who were in our country’s way.

      The phrase, “history is written by the winners” comes to mind.

      As to how to handle the current situation, I agree that it cannot just be a bunch of money, but a well thought out and implemented plan.

  23. [...] Rewriting History: Thanksgiving and Genocide [...]

  24. jchenwa says:

    yeah, it’s not enough to receive forgiveness, we need to make things right also.

  25. Ralph says:

    According to journals of the time, the first settlers found some Indian tribes, then came back to find that they had been conquered, exterminated, and integrated into other tribes, within a matter of years. Even some of the more ‘peaceful’ tribes had histories of human sacrifice (usually using captives) and war, kidnapping, stealing wives, was normal. But this is the nature of conquest, and to say that the Europeans should have been more civilized in their conquest habits ignores what conquest means. Add into this that the majority of death was caused by disease, not by actual acts of killing, and you really do an injustice favoring the “Native” invaders over the “European” invaders.

    The current Thanksgiving is part of reunification after the Civil War. Before then it was a harvest festival that fell on different dates. The earliest Thanksgiving being a Spanish celebration that had absolutely nothing to do with the Native people. The fact that people run with it to try and show a moment of unification between the aboriginal people and the Europeans of the time is from a desire to unify THOSE people as well. So, if you are not wanting to celebrate it, that’s fine, but realize you’re not boycotting Europeans vs Native people, but the reunification of America after a disheartening and divisive war between the states, and the gesture of “Let’s bring our people together and have peace” that extended eventually to the Native people. Your loss.

  26. While I agree with most of this article, I find it ignorant to give reparations of ANY kind! Why/how should we, in the present day, have to pay for the mistakes of generations passed? I agree that what had happened was wrong and immoral – but to have to keep paying ‘reparations’ for it some hundreds of years later is asinine! You mentioned giving reparations for the descendants? Why? What have they suffered because of this genocide? All I see is the Native Americans leeching our country’s funds – while operating gambling casinos – and NOT paying their fair share of taxes associated with their revenues – and their tribes-people sitting around getting “fat & happy” – while most do not work?! Am I the only person who sees something wrong with this?

    There are many examples throughout history where nations invaded others and enslaved them – and killed them. I think it was part of our ‘nature’ back then – our mindsets were of different parallels. Obviously in modern times, we are more aware of civil liberties and more tolerant of those of different cultures.

  27. -dp- says:

    Reblogged this on Upwrite and commented:
    Sobering Thanksgiving thoughts from Eugene Cho. Even as we are thankful, we ought to be mindful of this country’s history of genocide.

  28. Garrett Chan says:

    Thanks for the post, Pastor E. I grapple with the same issues as a teacher teaching about the holiday to my students…

  29. [...] departments for years, with it trickling down to the professional activists and busybodies, the lefty churches, and finally the 85 IQ affirmative action people tweeting about “lmaooo – the truth about [...]

  30. [...] upon this nation, and Thanksgiving represents that blessing.  Or, if you prefer, this nation was built upon the backs of those we slaughtered, and we have much to [...]

  31. Stephan Fenton says:

    My family came here long after the Pilgrims, in the late 1800s and early 1900s. On my father’s side the first immigrant was in jail in England and told they would free him if he would get on a boat to America and never come back. On my mother’s side they were Swedes who came to find a better life and religious freedom (yes, they were some of the first Covenanters). Does this give me a free pass from the guilt you feel? None of my relatives were involved.

  32. Really, do you not have anything better to do? There are those of us who acknowledge the day as a day we celebrate with ones we love and things we are thankful for. Why must it be turned into some sort of over-rationalized theory you try to impose on us? If you don’t want to celebrate for whatever reasons, then don’t, but why do you want to try to ruin it for people who choose to pay attention to things they are thankful for and share this day with others? Have you any clue as to some of the great things that happen on this day? People with no family get invited to join others, to share in specially prepared food, and to be with “family” if only for a day. But it can leave therm with a vision as to how they’d like their life to change and they might make some changes so that this vision will become reality for them. I’m one of them. So please find something else to do with your time, something positive. Maybe you could begin by thinking of some things you are grateful for? Make it a productive day rather than a destructive day. Take your bad attitude elsewhere. If what you say has any validity, don’t trash Thanksgiving Day to point it out. I’ve also seen it as a day when many families start a healing process after years of being estranged from family. Leave it alone, please. Thank you.

  33. Steve K says:

    I’m not sure I agree. Yes, there was genocide that resulted in us obtaining the land which we have sometimes raped in order to obtain the standard of living we often give thanks for. But this doesn’t mean that Thanksgiving is bad, or even that the original story is wrong. There’s a lot of it that was right, and is good to remember. The original Pilgrims would have died if not for Native assistance. It was a feast that was multi-racial, multi-cultural and a celebration of immigration. Perhaps we can focus on the positive. I think that for thanksgiving we should invite a family that immigrated to the U.S. for a feast.

    • Lorraine says:

      I DO agree, Eugene. Steve, what positive should we focus on? the number of treaties with Native Americans that we have broken? The way that we justified kicking them off their land? The “kill the Indian, save the child” movement? The hidden truth that WE were the ones who cut off THEIR scalps, then re-wrote history to label them as “savages”?

      • Steve K says:

        Lorraine: It seems like you are saying that we should no longer celebrate the Last Supper because Christians eventually had the Crusades and a horrible patriarchy. We do not celebrate the eventual demise of the ideal, but the actual ideal: giving thanks for what God has given us, including cross-cultural compassion.

  34. Jan says:

    The original small group looking for a place of freedom in which to live and worship–a place of wilderness and hardships where survival depended on the help of native inhabitants–were not those power and land seeking politicos of England, Spain and France who saw the New World as land to be grasped and money to be made…much like today’s dictators and power-hungry despots. As ever, the common person’s small vocie of protest is unheard and unrecorded in the annals of history…

  35. Susan P. says:

    This is a beautiful book with the actual history of 1621 as researched and reencacted by Wampanoag and Plymouth Plantation volunteers. It was photographed by National Geographic. It also tells how the myth around Thnksgiving took shape. I highly commend it! It is written for elementary kids, but most of don’t know our history beyond that level anyway. http://www.amazon.com/1621-New-Look-Thanksgiving-American/dp/0792261399/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321981789&sr=8-1

  36. Ryan P. says:

    I don’t remember when this first dawned on me, but for a number of Thanksgivings now, I’ve thought back on this and been awestruck that Europeans in the Americas aren’t universally reviled by the descendants of the natives. It may just be resignation. But some part of me hopes it is forgiveness, which will be part of what I’m thankful for year after year, and I hope someday it will be thankfulness for a common good that they and we share in fairly and justly.

    It seems good just to make Thanksgiving a day to be thankful for the goodness of God, but then again it does still seem warped to be thankful for our wellbeing being substituted for someone else’s, or worse, for it being built upon their loss and suffering.

  37. Steve K says:

    There are many holidays I don’t celebrate, which frustrates my family to no end. I won’t celebrate Independence Day, because it celebrates an act of violent rebellion. I don’t celebrate Memorial Day because I won’t celebrate the military system. I don’t hand out presents on Christmas because it should be about Jesus, not stuff. But I believe in redeeming what we can redeem– and I believe that Thanksgiving and Christmas can be redeemed. Remember, Jesus didn’t come to judge the world, but to save it– perhaps some of the holidays can be saved as well.

  38. [...] I do think we should wrestle with the critique of Thanksgiving offered by Eugene Cho in his post “Rewriting History: Thanksgiving and Genocide”. Cho offers some worthwhile suggestions for ways to begin reconciliation with Native Americans [...]

  39. Mick says:

    This was quite poorly written . Talk about Revisionist History .
    If you wanted to list the mis treatment of Native Americans there is a long list .

    Actually Thanks Giving started with President George Washington Procllamation and started a tradition our Country has had since . A Free people opnely Thanking God for our His Guidance and Grace.

    But as far as Native Americans we should also list their own problems if Eugene is wanting to play PC . Fpr one som natives were actually eating each other at the time of the pilgrims . Up to a smudge of over 100 years ago in my region tribal members would murder their born babies even they were twins or more . Considered bad luck of some kind . Also they would raid other tribes as many other tribes id to kidnap and en slave women and children . Quite brutal in many regions . Right to vote , some women did not have a right to live . So yes they were in deed exploited by politicians and others , they also had their share of exploiting others . Gods word is not meant just for the white man with davy crocket hats , the Natives here had their hearts deep in their own sin also . They actually were still in the stone age , literally still in the stone age . The reason they lost so uch land was because of that . Just like we won our freedom fro the Brits, they lost theirs to us .

    Now tribes suffer through this we are victims , government dependacy life style . Most of their people have blood lines that have more white or black in them then their tribal ancestory .

    The message i would ave liked to have read was reconciliation , not for the sake of AMERICAS GUILT , but for the sake of those tribal members today trapped in the PC message of Chou and others promte . It ensleaves those tribal members of today , and they actually have more opportunity then a vast majority of Americans if they wanted to for good and educated lives . Their culture of today is wreaking with social problems .

    They need Christ in their lives , not revisionist history .

  40. Simon says:

    I think a number of posters here have confused the concepts of forgiveness and restitution.

    If I was a notrorious and successful bank robber who had accumulated $2M over my life of crime and then came to Christ – I would be fully and completely forgiven. It would be solely an act of the Grace of God “immense and free”. My guilt would be washed clean. It would be free and cost me nothing – but would I expect to hold on the my 2m bucks?

    What if my father was the succesful bank robber, and died unregenerate, popping right down to the lake of fire reserved for the devil and all his angels. A bad man but good to his boy in his will. I later come to Christ – forgiven etc – what am I going to do with my inheritance? It was not my sin therefore do I get to keep the lucre?

    One of the earlier posters also had it right though. If we beleive in survival of the fittest / original sin then as a nation we are entitled to keep whatever we grab by means of our tanks, bombers and missles. Or if we beleive our manifest destiny is to be a nation which honors the Prince of Peace, then we might just reject survival of the fittest – in our schools, in our markets and in our foreign relations, and “win our Country back for God”.

  41. Wow! There is so much wrong information in some of the responses here I don’t know whether or where to start. I’ll just make one correction. Before 1491 Native Americans did war with one another but by and large, much more time was spent making peace, mostly through trade agreements and political alliances. There are no instances of attempted genocide that I am aware of until they were under the employment of the Dutch, the French, the English, etc. War, among most Native American tribes had very different purposes. Primarily it was about tough times and having enough food.

  42. I agree with you and while the the subject with truth is far too removed from our formal educations an excellent book I read this past year entitled “From the Heart, Voices of the American Indian” by Lee Miller, a collection of first hand documents and writings by Native Americans, British and new settlers dating from 1492 through 1875 = From the Caribbean, Mexico and all throughout the North America United States truly enlightened me with what I had not understood for most of my life. It is shameful and it did not have to be. We were in many ways welcomed until greed and power raised their “inevitable” heads.

  43. Slingshot says:

    can’t you all stick to the facts and the topic instead of trying to drag your fairy tales (heaven, christ, god, etc) into the equation? We are talking about facts, not myths.

  44. While I don’t think may people are arguing whether or not what happened was wrong I have a problem with the conclusion drawn by that TED talk. It does matter what would happen to the Black Hills. What is the motivation for creating a larger pocket of poverty? Simply giving back the land is not retribution, it’s bitterness.

    As for thanksgiving, I think part of celibrating it is celibrating the unity that actually did exist for the first pilrgims. It was a picture of peace and coexistence. Was it sustained? No, and so I think the shame follows later generations. There was a lot of land on this contenent working together was not too far from their reach. Something that started from people looking for a place to be free ended in greed that disregarded the freedom of others. But it didn’t start that way. I look at thanksgiving as the picture of what it could have been in America for all people.

    • Mick says:

      Stephanie good comments . We do not stop celebrating Christmas because of the crusades either . Thanks Giving is giving Thanks unto the Lord , for our Salvation , the ability to feed our familes , the blessing he has bestowed upon us . Not our guilt . Guilt comes from the evil One . The Native Americans that suffered here was do to many reasons . Bigotry , culture , and disease caused by a limited immune system .

      I know a sister in the Lord whose parents actually moved out to the woods in Canada to escape the mandated schooling for Natives . They lost a culture and their self worth as a people . To this day many males in the culture still suffer from loosing their role in the family circle . She kept her language , only a few who did.

      The message of Thanks giving is not and ever was an example of our deserving the Blessing of God , it was always an expression thanking God for our blessing that we as sinners do not deserve . My depictions of natives and their sins was never meant to be an example of them deserving it , but an example of How they need Christ also To suggest otherwise is promoting a falsehood that does no one any good . As does not learnig from history what happens when mis treat a people because of race and culture. . Not sympathy or victimhood . That is a shallow man made PC .

      But still yet , I do not know too many who would trade our blessings and our commitment to human rights , the rights God has granted us in his mercy and grace compared to other lands . Of course the church needs to be awaken , but showing the Love of Christ goes farther then making an issue like this of Thanks Giving .

      If you study history, before the spandiards arrives , some native cultures had traditional games where the winners were put to death as an honor . The value of life was not always as we see it , just as in some circles in Europeans immigrints it was not . Their were apples in all ways of life and cultures. Especially tribal culture . When the Spandiards came and conqueered the Native populatin they did so with a few hundred men . The life under Spandiard rule was better then under their current leadership of the Aztecs or Incas . Aztecs for instance used human sacrifice for religious reasons. This is not saying much for the Spandiards , or the Priests whose conviction and religious belifs caused them to see much of the culture they found here as anti God and pagan worship .. To be forcifully rid of . But just the same , the real message is we are all sinners , and playing who sinned worse 500 years later is not the Christian message .

      We have more African Americans who came here voluntarily because of our opportunity and freedoms ,then were forced t under the vulgar act of slavery . 600,000 thousand peoplem died ending that sin , more then half were those who were against slavery . Many irish who came here and were put in uniform right off the boat served in that war , as had many minorities been dealt with unfairly and in excusably . In Israel they did the same to their neigbors , often enslaving them and treating them without mercy .

      But Thank God we have a King , who looks at us as individuals, and the message of Thanks Giving is no matter if your a slave , minority , or the majority , he loves us all the same .

      Hope all have a Great Christmas .

  45. Barbara Galusha Karst says:

    How many excuses will we continue to make over what the dominent society did to the Native Americans! It’s interesting how we blame the victims rather than take responsibility for what the Europeans did after Columbus arrived. We can’t change what has already happened but we certainly can change the future of Native Americans with our advocacy and support from here on in.

    • Mick says:

      Barbara ,

      Yes I mentor a child who is Native American through a Christian organization that works with school districts to support kids at risk . . Actually its been more of a blessing for me i believe at times , the young man has such a big heart . That is a good way to help I believe . Was not done out of guilt though , the Lord wants us to help out of Love .

      Whats your method of helping through repentance ?

  46. Jodie says:

    With a due respect whats the purpose of this post. Most of us are aware of our history and dont need you to shove it down our throats. Feel free not to observe Thanksgiving but leave the rest of us out of it

  47. Sarah E. says:

    I debated a lot about whether or not I’d celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s not a happy holiday for Native Americans. I want to respect that for them it’s a time for mourning. But instead I decided to make the holiday about family and thankfulness and I teach my children about it’s bad origins and why we as a family don’t celebrate that.

  48. Marti P. says:

    At church, we’re looking at doing both a conventional dinner and a wacipi (Lakota/Dakota for dance), since, according to some accounts, the first Thanksgiving had something to do with celebrating the elimination of some Pequot tribal members. Our pastor and most of our membership are from one tribe or the other.

    These things are hard to discuss, but I don’t think we’ll have a healing until we can talk about them openly and look what happened in the eye. Thank you for caring about the people, Pastor.

  49. Amy C. says:

    For another perspective on Thanksgiving, read the Thanksgiving Proclamation (and how it was declared a holiday in 1863, in the midst of American civil war) and the true words of Abraham Lincoln. It really is about the spirit of giving thanks for the blessings we have in the midst of life’s troubles:

    “To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

    No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.”

    The full proclamation is shown here, along with an explanation of how the official holiday came about at the time that it did:

    http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/speeches/thanks.htm

  50. [...] First of all, let me share how much I love the spirit of Thanksgiving. How can you not? The notion of being grateful and thankful is a beautiful thing. It’s a truth that transcends any gender… (RT @EugeneCho: Thanksgiving?  [...]

  51. Matt K says:

    I tried to leave a comment earlier but I don’t think it came through.

    Eugene, I think you have overlooked something, perhaps to make a sharper point. While nothing you said about the travesty against the indigenous people is untrue, I think outrage at the Thanksgiving holiday is misplaced.

    A few things to keep in mind:

    +First off, harvest festivals predate the pilgrims by millenia (likely since the dawn of human agriculture). Ancient cultures, both pagan and biblical, included rites of gratitude around feasting to celebrate a great harvest. With or without a national proclomation, “Thanksgiving” happens in almost every place and age where people depend on the land for food.

    +Secondly, the official Thanksgiving holiday celebrated in the United States is not a celebration of the events at Plymouth Rock. What we celebrate today was established by Lincoln as a time of healing and respite from the horrors of the Civil war and to mark the still unfinished business of mending the great sin of slavery. Again, not about Pilgrims and Indians.

    Finally, while I agree we need great vigilance to remember the travesty of genocide that happened on this continent and the continued suffering of Native people, I really think outrage over Thanksgiving is an adventure in missing the point. Indigenous peoples groups have named Columbus Day as the more egregious national celebration (I’d like to see the day renamed “Discovery Day” to honor great discoveries by all people, as well as to remember the great suffering our discoveries can create). I’d like to see some of the “first Thanksgiving story” demythed, but is this really some sort of epidemic that is at the root of perpetuating suffering of indigenous peoples? I think the last time someone tried to peddle me the story of happy Indians and Pilgrims was second grade…

    Like I said, the shameful way the indigenous people of this continent were treated is something to never be forgotten, but outrage at Thanksgiving is a distraction at best.

  52. kody says:

    how do you then handle Scripture when it speaks of all the times when, for example, God commanded Israel to “completely destroy” entire nations/cities/races? right down to every woman and child, and animal?

    any human suffering is very sad. but, to say that any time one people group overtakes another (even if the means are unjust) is completely outside God’s will is the equivalent of saying that Christians should be unfailingly anti-war, anti-death penalty, etc. There is suffering and injustice in the world – does that mean that God is no longer sovereign? is He powerless to end poverty? when Christ walked this earth, did the fact that people still died of sickness and starvation indicate that He couldn’t have prevented it? and, is it truly the observance of the Thanksgiving holiday in America that is contributing to our apathy?

    we do not live in a “perfect world” (haven’t you seen “Crash”?). we cannot change history. we can only “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God” TODAY. and, none of it is possible without Christ in our hearts, for without Him we can do nothing.

    • kody says:

      and…at the risk of sounding cliche, i will quote from “The Fellowship of the Ring”:

      (Frodo): “I wish none of this had happened.”

      (Gandalf): “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.”

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One Day’s Wages

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Today is the last day of my 3 month sabbatical. That went by so fast... On the first day, our family went to Santa, Cruz, California. The first thing we did after we arrived at the San Jose airport was to go straight to In-N-Out. If these kids grow up and feel like they need counseling because their Dad didn't show them love, I'm gonna show them this picture as well and say, "I'VE GOT PROOF. I TOOK YOU TO THE BEST BURGER JOINT WITH NICE CHRISTIAN VERSES UNDER THE DRINK CUP." My prayer life always becomes a little more active when I go fishing. #NameItAndClaimIt #ComeOnSalmon Seattle. Home, sweet home. And home of the Super Bowl champions. Thank you, New York and NJ. You're beautiful. Appreciate your warmth & hospitality. Morning hike. My features over at @miir are hosting a book.giveaway + their world.class  tumblers. "Hot off the press! Eugene Cho, founder of @onedayswages, has a new book titled Overrated that will challenge you to actually change the world. We've got two signed copies to give away. Like this post AND tag a friend for your chance to win both copies and #MiiR tumblers."

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