Reflections on Occupation

We strive to keep this blog shallow light.  A place where we can take a break from all that weighs on our minds and daily lives; a place where we curlax.  

But sometimes, we find ourselves at a moment in time where there is a call for everyone to think and act outside of themselves.  To make that extra effort, to speak out, to do something brave and courageous, to care.  From the Arab Spring to general strikes in Europe to Occupy Wall Street, the world is at one such moment.

I, perhaps like a lot of other Americans, have a complicated relationship with the holiday generally referred to as “Thanksgiving.”  Some of it is tied up in Normon Rockwell notions of family and the pressures and stresses that go along with that.  Some of it is the dread of the Macy’s parade which officially kicks off the Christmas consumerism that hijacks this country for a month.

But mostly, I detest Thanksgiving because of the holiday itself, and what a complete lie it is.  I don’t know how to fulfill my family obligations of the day and at the same time acknowledge the brutal history that it is based on.  How do I, as a conscientious person, live with the inherent conflict that my life today is built on the genocide of indigenous peoples and the continued occupation of Native lands?  And then to “celebrate” it?  It’s a holiday that commemorates the the ugly consequences of colonialism, all behind a veneer of warm and fuzzy friendship and love.  The hypocrisy is agonizing.  Yet I do it.  And I hate it.

I also really do not like turkey.  When I was vegetarian, I would eat stuffing for my entire meal.  Now that I eat meat, I’m expected to actually eat the turkey and then I have to look like I enjoy it. Maybe I’ll be an honorary vegetarian, just for today.  But then what about the bacon I had this morning for breakfast?

Anyway, this Thanksgiving, the Occupy movement is ever present.  We all need to remember the implications of what “occupy” means, who the original occupiers were, and that most of us (the 98.3% of us who are not Native) continue to be occupiers.  Although we can’t go back and change history, we do have the power to change this particular moment in history.

Whose land do you live on?  I live on the Native lands of the Duwamish, and I am their (uninvited) guest.

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