So today is Thanksgiving. In this piece, Ahiga Kotori, a Seneca revolutionary and a friend of ours here in Seattle reflects on the holiday. He asks: what do we really have to be thankful for? Are folks giving thanks for U.S. capitalism and white supremacy, for 518 years of colonial settlement of North America, for a nation built on stolen Native land and an economy lubricated with Native blood? Why, if these do not really benefit people of color? As Malcolm X said, “we didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on us.”
We have been organizing with Ahiga Kotori and many others this fall demanding Justice for John T. Williams. Williams, a Native American woodcarver was gunned down by Seattle cop Ian Birk who claimed Williams refused to drop his carving knife. Investigations have shown that Williams’ knife was not even open and that Birk shot him in the side after giving him only four seconds of warning. This, as well as several other recent cases of police brutality against Latino and Black folks, has sparked a multi-racial coalition of working and poor people to mobilize against the cops. We will reflect on this movement and analyze it soon, but for now we’ll leave you with Kotori’s haunting question: “what does John T. Williams have to be thankful for?” While American society gives thanks for the triumphs of empire, and “progress” forged through the death of indigenous peoples, let’s pause to remember that the state the Pilgrims began to establish still claims the lives of oppressed peoples and this will not stop until we dismantle it and replace it with a new society we can truly give thanks for.
That’s why, unless snow disrupts the bus lines, we’ll be out there protesting, responding to Kotori’s call to action.
I was wondering if anybody would be willing to have a protest of some kind? Because in my opinion, this is just the same as the Holocaust except the difference is, we don’t celebrate the Holocaust. Though the Holocaust was horrible, it was a six year thing. Most of it. Our oppression has been going for 518 years. 78 million have died as a result. When Columbus got here there were 80 million people of different tribes and tongues. This was just in the U.S. territories alone! Yet by the time the white man’s conquest was over, there are a little over 2 million left. Unlike the Jews of Europe, we barely have our identity.
Growing up in the hood, the main people I saw were Blacks and my cousins, who were full blooded Senecas. That experience had me thinking that maybe all non-Native people shouldn’t leave , leaving us the land. Maybe just whites.
Then I meet some white revolutionaries and now I know there are SOME good white people.
However, now, I see that despite the fact that the white man keeps all minorities down, for whatever reason, people of color who are non- tribal, are celebrating Thanksgiving!
Now in the heart of our struggle we must think about the future, what society we want for ourselves, our future, our, children, we must find a way to coexist as men, women, Blacks, Natives, Irish, Italian, Euros, Jews Arabs, Latinos , Muslims, gay men and women. And actually being able to force all non native people off the continent would be a long and difficult and frankly unnecessary task. So that said, if you all are going to stay, I ask for your help in our struggle as we will help with yours.
Continue reading Reflections on Thanksgiving by a Native Revolutionary