Gilded Serpent presents...
I sit at
my computer and think of the massive amounts of information
we receive via the Internet. Ex-Vice President Gore said
he believed that this was the way to becoming a future global
village, an International highway.
access anything imaginable we want, find research on things
we need to know, and create intimacy with friends far away.
There are so many things both positive and negative that
can be sent or accomplished through this computer wonderland.
was invented, sociologists viewed this wondrous technology
of instant communication as a leap into a new world In which
we could teach everyone in its grasp the greatest literature,
plays, up to the minute access to news, and to educate millions
of people, and a new generation. Television was thought to
have the ability to make great change for our lives through
its usage. Television does do these things, but not in the
grandiose way that sociologists thought at the time. Actually
it may be creating a society that has become over-saturated
with violence, death, and images of the macabre. Along with
this saturation, many become so used to these images and
thoughts, that they seem to have become a reality. When you
see a movie, a television show, or a PBS special that truly
causes one to think, to become involved, to learn something
provocative, new... That is generating the positive role
model to which television should commit in my opinion.
write e-mails and send jokes, or look up favorite articles
on the computer, it is as powerful as entering the great
Library of Alexandria may have been. Yet we also hear about
child pornography, sex rings, predators, groups, and clubs
enlisting more and more impressionable people to cultist
hate groups by using e-mail.
I ask myself, what responsibility does a person have
towards the audience who is reading their material
online? Do we censor ourselves, afraid of offending
others with personal statements and staying within
the safe margins of acceptability?
Do we go
way out on a limb and offer information that may be considered
unwelcome by some and offensive to others? Or does an author
have the right to inherently, under his name, step into a
new world of writing, so that others may have the right to
view it and then judge it for themselves?
have written many articles for this magazine and others.
The article that I wrote which I felt most passionately was
the one regarding the Romany people and the cultural assimilation
and degradation of these traditional people and their dance,
as seen through current American dance trends. (To see my
views regarding that perspective please refer to my article "Nomads
of the Spirit".)
events of September 11th happened, we were all aware that
besides the terrorism element, we have incorporated ourselves
into a dance form and culture that originates and represents
the lands of the Middle East.
embraced this community and Middle Eastern friends,
restaurant owners, musicians, etc. to let them know
that we dancers had a special heart of understanding
to not to let race or hate define a people or a culture.
is happening right now in the Middle East, and we write about
our dance shows and events, travels and remembrances, but
no one dares takes a step to mention political strife. Politics
does make for controversy! I believe that without making
a mention of the world events that are facing our lives and
incorporating the world as a whole, we become complacent.
political piece does not automatically assume that
all agree, it is just a perspective, or historical
commentary. Hopefully it allows us to utilize our own
intellectual gifts in which to evaluate and become
more empowered with different spects of knowledge.
this is a magazine dedicated to Middle Eastern Dance, and
Music, how does that define an author who wishes to write
about circumstances in the Middle East? The Middle East is
the birthing place of our dance community and its existence.
I truly don't know.... I realize this is not a political
forum. However all great magazines, books, literature, television,
movies, schooling, teaching should strive to give light on
the hidden areas, the invisibility of unjustness.
As we dance,
we celebrate art and the beauty that that art places in social
and cultural identities.
have been, for almost 30 years, a dancer, a teacher, a troupe
director, a workshop teacher, and a writer in Middle Eastern,
North African dance. I hope I always write with integrity
and honesty. Not only am I a dancer, I am, and have been,
a student, a wife, a daughter, a childbirth educator/labor
coach, an RN student, a body-worker that incorporates Reiki
Master and Acupressure. I hold a B.S. degree in Health Education
and minor in American Indian Studies. I have worked in the
Native American Community for over 24 years as an advocate,
mediator, outreach worker, liaison and community member.
All of us in our whole parts are so much more than the definition
that the dance gives us. That is why I am writing this piece
of history regarding the American Indians and the original
Thanksgiving. I feel it is important that ignorance and domination
of a lie be challenged and addressed. We can no longer stand
by and hope to look down at the seven generations in front
of us and be proud that the realities of the history of our
own land and beginnings were fabricated.
Thanksgiving is approaching, and, amusingly, November was
dedicated four years ago by ex-president Clinton as Native
American History month, I am submitting this true walk through
our past, so that we never repeat the same atrocities or
let the generations think that that is the way of walking
in truth and knowing the truth. As Eldridge Cleaver once
said, " If you're not part of the solution, you’re part
of the problem."
is a beautiful day. It is the beginning of harvest, when
we gather those foods around us that will sustain us through
winter until spring. Thanksgiving is a time to truly look
at the blessings of Mother Earth in what she supplies us
in bounty and sustenance, and in our relationships that supply
us with love and support.
is a time of selflessness and knowing where our blessings
lie. Surely in this Time, as we face unknown perils
of looming war, economic hardships, and unexplainable
Violence, we all need to remember for what we aught
to be thankful.
as a messenger not to destroy Thanksgiving, but to amend
the lies and grievous events that took place in America that
officially sanctioned the day we know as Thanksgiving. I
am here to strip away the Disney fantasy of the Indians and
pilgrims, joyously, and together sharing foods around a large
table, welcoming and helping each other.
English settlers arrived on North American shores, they were
poorly prepared to know how to survive in this Eco-system
and were hungry and starving. The first Indians who met some
of the settlers did show them how to grow the America's staple
foods: corn, squash, beans.
the first official Thanksgiving as we know it wasn't
a festive gathering of Indians and Pilgrims, but rather
a celebration of the massacre of 700 Indian men, women,
and children as documented historically and anthropologically.
B Newell tells us the truth about this day. " Thanksgiving
Day was first officially proclaimed by the governor of the
Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637 to commemorate the massacre
of 700 men, women and children who were celebrating their
annual green corn dance (Thanksgiving Day to them), in their
own lodges.” Gathered in this meeting place, they were attacked
by English and Dutch mercenaries. The Indians were ordered
from the building and as they came forth, they were shot
down. The rest were burned alive in their longhouse.
research is based on studies of Dutch documents and the 13
Volume Colonial Documentary History, both thick sets of letters
and reports from colonial officials to their superiors and
the King of England along with the private papers of Sir
William Johnson, (a British Indian agent for the New York
colony for 30 yrs. in the mid 1600s).
research is authentic, because it's documentary. You can't
get anything more accurate than that, because it's firsthand,
it's not hearsay". Newell, a Penobscot Indian, has degrees
from Syracuse and the University of Pennsylvania, Chairman
of the Department of Anthropology, and Museum Advisor, University
says that the next 100 Thanksgivings commemorated the killing
of the Indians at what is now Groton, Connecticut, rather
than a celebration with them.
very next day, the governor declared a Thanksgiving Day,
thanking God that they had eliminated those 700 men, women
and children, and that they had wiped out the Pequot Tribe.
It was later that Thanksgiving was proclaimed an annual holiday
by the newly developing United States.
this in honor of the people whose land this was originally,
the people who now belong to this land, and our generations
to come. We will no longer tolerate genocide in any form,
whether from Nazi Germany of WWII, or the genocide of Armenians
in the 1920s, or of the Kurds recently by Sadaam Hussein.
As we embark towards a future that included the terrors of
9/11, let us hope that voices raised in truth and integrity
never allow this type of injustice to remain invisible again.
are the appendix sites for people to use on the internet to
look up information regarding the first Thanksgiving......
1. www.yvwiisdinvohii.net/history/ThanksgivingDayMassacre.htm (Or
go to Google and type in William Newell and Thanksgiving Day History)
In various cities, Native American's hold special religious
ceremonial events to commemorate the memory of their ancestor's
blood that has been sacrificed, the lands that have been
taken and to create awareness of true Native American people
and their unity.
Plymouth, Massachusetts on Nov. 28, 20002 they
will have their 33rd National Day of Mourning. This is
an annual tradition since 1970. The Day of Mourning is
a solemn, spiritual and highly political day. Many fast
from sundown the day before through to the afternoon of "Thanksgiving
Day". At the end of the ceremony, a social gathering
is held. mourning our ancestors and the genocide of our
peoples and the theft of our lands", which also includes
a march through the historic district of Plymouth.
San Francisco ,California....there is always held
the traditional Sunrise Ceremony at Alcatraz Island. Alcatraz
Island is used, due to it's important historical and political
contribution to the beginning movement towards Native sovereignty
rights, land title, and political empowerment. About an
hour before sunrise, a fleet of boats leave the Pier at
San Francisco wharf, heading towards Alcatraz Island. On
the boats are many Native American community leaders, political
activists, spiritual leaders; along with the participants
of the ceremony. There are usually two drum groups and
singers who begin the drumming and singing as the boats
leave. They then lead the procession with the spiritual
leaders carrying the eagle staff and buffalo skull reserved
for sacred ceremonies; up the strong incline of Alcatraz. Behind
them, stream 100's of Native and non Native Americans,
who come to join in ceremony of remembrance to the ancestors,
those who lived on this land, those who died, and to those
who carry the generations. It is a blessing , a prayer
for Mother Earth, and all her inhabitants to bring peace
to the world, and that no one forgets the atrocities committed
upon a Nation of People. There is songs, prayers, Aztec
dancers, and Pomo dancers who represent the California
Natives. There are speeches, and many prayers said as the
sun rises above the ruins of Alcatraz, in the fog, rain
and cold. The sacred fire takes the prayers of those who
come to attend. Afterwards, many Indian community centers
hold social gatherings that include free meals to who ever
comes to their doors. And yes, it is the traditional Thanksgiving
food, along with Native additions such as Fry Bread, Beans,
article is the sole opinion of the author and is in no way
affiliated as opinions shared by the Gilded Serpent magazine,
it's editor, it's contributors, or Board of Directors.
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