First, I hope this day is spent breaking bread with the ones you love. Second, if you’ve been following the nonsense about the Pilgrims, the Indians, and socialism, this red (and I mean red, in the true meaning–progressive–not the current reactionary or ignorant one) thought it would be worthwhile to share this letter with you all. Jack Shakely wrote to The Los Angeles Times (unfortunately, it didn’t get printed in today’s issue). Jack is a member of the Internet Writing Workshop and, he was also the chair, Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission. And now for Jack’s wise words:
As we celebrate Thanksgiving, there are those who want us to believe that the Plymouth Pilgrims didn’t thrive until they broke free of secular socialism.
It would be good to remember that the other people at that first feast, the folks who in fact brought the food and made the feast possible, were then, and continued to be for the next 250 years, communists.
The great American Indian nations owned their land in common, harvested their crops and hunted the buffalo in common, feasted together in good times and faced famine together in hard times.
This is not to say that the Indian way was superior to the Pilgrims, just different. The Pilgrims and Indians at the first Thanksgiving couldn’t have been farther apart in politics, religion and culture. Yet they embraced our shared humanity, and both came away stronger because of it. Let us try to do the same.
former chair, Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!