Re-Inventing Thanks-taken

This week we invited Josie Dykas, founder of Urban Indigenous to guest blog and give us her take on Thanksgiving. Here is what Josie had to say:

As the holiday weekend approaches, we are excited to celebrate with our loved ones. Celebrate a day when supposedly the Indians and Immigrants, also known as the pilgrims, sat down to a meal of thanks. Thanksgiving is one of the many stories in which US citizens believe they are honoring the Native people. Without debate if the actual meal of thanksgiving took place, it is yet another sensationalized, one-sided, limited point of view story. All of history is storytelling but who is telling the story?

In doing your research, you will find that the story of the thanksgiving is quite a savage one. The immigrants were starving to the point of cannibalism. They did not know how to work the foreign land so the Native people showed them. They were very thankful for the help. They shared, then shortly after they massacred the Natives.

In doing your research, you will find that the story of the thanksgiving is quite a savage one. The immigrants were starving to the point of cannibalism. They did not know how to work the foreign land so the Native people showed them. They were very thankful for the help. They shared, then shortly after they massacred the Natives.

What if there was a sensationalized story about the Nazi’s and the people of Jewish decent sitting down for a meal prior to the atrocities? Ridiculous? It’s ridiculous that we know stories of what has happened on the other side of the world but we are ignorant of what has happened on the land we live on.

By celebrating this holiday in the way it is glamorized, we are actually continuing to put salt in a wound of many Native people that has never healed. With physical wounds, we must care for the wound and make sure it is clean so it may heal. If you left it to heal by itself with out caring it would become swollen, painful to touch and oozing with puss. Now I ask you to think of the infected wound in a mental, emotional and spiritual sense. You cannot see it but it is still there. With every one-sided story, with every stereo type, without awareness we are furthering the infection.

This Thursday think of what we can do as people living on this land to make it a real Thanksgiving.

Josie Dykas

Josie Dykas was born and raised in Chicago and is of Yaqui & Polish. She studied improvisation at many of the great institutions including UCB(NYC), interned with SNL’s Anne Beatts(LA), Second City & ImproOlympic(Chicago) where she was one of Del Close’s last students. She has performed & directed many groups throughout Chicago. Josie is the founder of a multi-ethnic comedy troupe, Urban Indigenous. Currently, she works as a teaching artist with NEIU’s 21st Century program teaching Native Storytelling and improv/comedy, works as a consultant to CPS’s Title VII Program and Duron Law Firm as a consultant. She hopes to inspire the Native/Latino youth to use comedy as a muse of self expression while helping our community heal through laughter.  www.urbanindigenous.com

(First Photo above courtesy of OC Weekly)

Proyecto Latina Copy Right 2010

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