Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

What Not To Say To A Native American

American’s have the advantage of free speech, whereas in some countries it’s illegal to speak out against things you’re opposed to, or to rally for things you’re for. That freedom of speech, at times, gives our western culture the idea to feel free to ask whatever is on our mind without having thought the question through, or say anything we wish to express, whether anyone around us agrees with it. American’s have no filter. It’s a birthright, I guess you can say. However, some take their ‘freedom of speech’ a bit too far.

For instance, when stated that I am Native American, it’s typical to hear in response, ‘how much Indian/Native American are you?’. It’s actually an insensitive question. I don’t ask anyone about their culture, race, or ethnic background, or how much of it are they really, it’s just plan rude. You are what you are, so why should I question it. I don’t ask to see your birth certificate or any other paperwork for that matter, to see if you are who you say you are, so why would anyone question a native american for being who they are?

There’s always a general question or comment brought up when native american’s are mentioned. My favorite, for instance, ‘my great-seven times back-grandma was a Cherokee princess’. Actually, there’s no such thing. There may be a chief’s daughter, but no royal titles were given, such as princess. You should see the facial expression I get when I tell people that, or hear the harsh comments I receive.

Certain words in our past history were used by Immigrants out of pretext for reasons that are not excusable. A word most often heard and should take precaution before being said is, ‘squaw’. It’s a derogatory word to mean whore, or to refer to a women’s genitalia. Redskin and brave are also derogatory words.

It’s rude to ask to touch someone’s hair, as well as it is to ask about oil rights and casino money. It’s also rude to ask, ‘do you live in a teepee?’, ‘do you receive any special benefits?’, ‘do you dance at powwows?’, ‘what do you really smoke in your peace pipe?’, ‘what’s your spirit animal?’, ‘why don’t you cut your hair?’, ‘do you celebrate Thanksgiving or Columbus Day?’.

You should always check yourself before asking anyone anything. If it sounds racist, it probably is and should not be said. Step outside your comfort zone and think, ‘if someone asked me this question or made this comment to me, would I be offended?’.

Friends and cookies

My friend Steaven and I spent most of the day yesterday baking and being crafty. One of our friends had an operation, so he and I decided to make a gift basket for her.

One of the greatest things I’ve gotten out of going back to school is meeting some really amazing people and making friends with them. These are the people that can really make you laugh and smile, especially when you need it most. And when they’re not there, it’s noticeable, the day seems to drag on and everything feels dull and depressing.

Though she was only going to be gone a few days, it felt like months to us. We also had a five day weekend to add onto that due to Thanksgiving holiday. Steaven, and I and another friend got together the week before Thanksgiving. We were trying to figure out when we could all get together, but we couldn’t find a day where one of us didn’t have a conflict. It ended up just being me and Steaven, but we included our other friend spiritually.

Even though we had fruit in the fruit basket, we added her favorite chocolates. We then made chocolate chip cookies and Hershey kiss cookies and put a mixture in a small tin to add to the gift basket. While the cookies were baking, Steaven and I made her a card from scratch. I have a nice size collection of stickers, construction paper, stamps and colored ink pads, which I have collected over the years and still use now and then for times such as these.

When we got to her house she looked shocked and almost ready to cry when we gave her the gift basket. We just wanted her to know we care about her and that she is missed.

Today is Thanksgiving

Not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving ON Thanksgiving, I can relate to this. I think there was only one time I was ever in port on Thanksgiving when I was in the Navy, but the other Thanksgivings I was out to sea. My ship is the only one that I know of so far that moved Thanksgiving to the day before or the day after as we usually had to work all day on Thanksgiving day.

Usually I hear civilians complain about working on holidays, but I’m sure they don’t think of the military men and woman who are far from home, instead of being with their families during those days. I’ll never forget my first Christmas away from home and I’m sure other service members won’t forget each holiday, anniversary, and birthday they’ve missed too.

I didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving today as one of my sisters had to work. We will be celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow.