Someone reminded me today of a little piece I wrote last Thanksgiving for a website:
This year was the biggest Thanksgiving dinner my family had had in many years. Being Filipino, it isn't really a huge event, coupled with the fact that my family is spread out pretty far, and we don't really get the opportunity to get together. But this one turned out to be a really good time. Most importantly, my mom had a blast.
Every year though, I can't help thinking about the dark side of Thanksgiving. Unbeknownst to many, it also marks a major day of protest among the American Indian population, or, what's left of it. It became a symbol of their betrayal by the white man, who centuries ago shared a harvest meal festivity, then through the years, proceeded to squander the land's resources, eradicate huge numbers of these native people, eventually driving them into tiny reservations.
This leaves Americans today sitting on a hard fence, torn between our great contributions to the world, and what we had to do to achieve them. Since the dawn of time, lands have been taken over by others- the Huns, the Macedonians, the Romans, the list goes on. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it's how change is effected. Often times good comes out of it in the end, and the world becomes more advanced as a result. Our story is not nearly as epic and dramatic as Attila's or Alexander's, but perhaps the Western Europeans might have been better off proclaiming that they conquered, instead of discovered America.
I personally hold no ill sentiment, for I love everything this country has done and been for me. But next year, as such in years past, I will sit on that fence again, in between sittings of a plentiful bounty, to have some thoughts for the American Indian.
"The frontier moves with the sun, and pushes the Red Man of these wilderness forests in front of it, until one day there will be nowhere left. Then our race will be no more, or be not us. The frontier place is for people like my white son and his woman, and their children. Then one day there will be no more frontier. And men like you will go too. And new people will come, work, struggle, some will make their life. But once, We were here."