November 24, Thanksgiving
The relatives fly in from near and from far,
Or, if they live close by, they travel by car.
The turkeys are roasted; the feasts are prepared,
The families gathered, the grievances aired.
We sit; heads of household begin, “Let us pray.”
Some others raise glasses of new Beaujolais.
The feast is Thanksgiving (for lands white men stole.)
Original nations have paid a huge toll.
We gather to celebrate how we’ve been blessed
With no thoughts of, “Thank you,” to those dispossessed.
As centuries flow by and memory recedes,
We don’t tend to dwell on forefathers’ misdeeds.
With rifles and smallpox they swept o’er the land.
Though wiped out in battle at Custer’s Last Stand,
Our soldiers and settlers, as we’ve all been told,
Eventually seized all the farmland and gold.
From Pilgrim’s first feast in 1621,
This first harvest festival has now been spun
Into a mythologized, national day,
When all express thanks and when some even pray.
The facts are quite complex for those who reflect;
Did Manifest Destiny somehow direct
And justify how all our ancestors spread,
And left the First Nations all starved, sick, or dead?
So, as we all gather on Thanksgiving Day,
Especially those who bow their heads and pray,
When turkeys are roasted and feasts are prepared,
There are different narratives to be compared.