Thanksgiving is the day when the dominant white culture (and, sadly, most of the rest of the non-white but non-indigenous population) celebrates the beginning of a genocide that was, in fact, blessed by the men we hold up as our heroic founding fathers.Gimme a break. I have g-g-g-grandparents who were Native American. Yeah, the whites acted rudely, but peoples everywhere act rudely. It is not a solely American trait.
I'm giving thanks this week, not for revisionist history, but for my own history.
My last name is German in origin, based on the fact that my paternal great-great-great grandfather migrated here with five brothers to escape a famine. It could just have easily been Scot, Irish, French, British, or Native American, depending on who decided to marry who in the late 19th century. I am 1/32nd Native American, based on a Mississippi Choctaw woman who decided to marry a Scot-Irish farmer in the country outside Jackson, MS. My namesake German grandfather hit the shores about the same time. I carry as much German blood in my veins as I carry Native American. I carry about an eighth French, based on my maternal g-g-grandparent who came to Louisiana following the British rudeness in Acadia.
I am a blend of about six different national origins, all who decided that the United States was the best place to raise a family. They integrated, assimilated, and took the best of every culture to make something unique. Me. The fact that my last name is Germanic is solely an accident of patrimony.
This week, I give thanks for that Native woman who decided to marry a Scot-Irish farmer as part of the American experiment. I give thanks for those German immigrants with the unwieldy last name. I give thanks for the French who were driven from their homes and came to wet, humid Louisiana. I give thanks for all who came before.
So, this week, with grandkids streaming in and out the doors of this modest home, I give thanks that we are here, in the great hope of the world. Part of the great American experiment, part of the greatest democracy this world has ever known. I give thanks that we are sheltered, and fed, and loved, and that my grandchildren have an even chance of being better than I am.