For me, this is a tough poem to read. For me, this is a holiday full of mixed emotions. Check out this version of Thanksgiving and this site in general. I downloaded their 50 Must-See Modern Native American Movies and Performances and realized how much work I haven’t seen. The list is pretty impressive!
by Jonathan Garfield
Thank you for relocating relations, relocating their hearts, some forgetting or ashamed of their Indigenous roots.
Thank you for alcohol that now courses like blood through reservation veins.
Thank you for teaching our young, impressionable, heavily reserved minds your history and overlooking ours in reservation schools.
Thank you for Catholic boarding school surgeons painfully removing our Native tongue without anesthetic until our mouths bled English.
Thank you for that old white man in the white-owned store on my rez that showed my 8-year-old eyes the color of my skin as he stalked me like prey aisle-to-aisle, always a thief in his adult eyes.
Thank you for the bruises that covered my sister like war paint, painted by fists, baseball bat and a love created and mixed by your reservations, in wars she never won, dying every time.
Thank you for the U.S.D.A. approved diabetes that has stolen uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, fathers, my mother.
Thank you for BIA and its IHS replacing our ceremonial medicine with prescribed addictions that have now stolen so many visions on the rez that it’s hard to see what comes next.
Thank you for compulsory sterilization creating and rewriting so many stories forever left broken and unfinished.
Thank you for the children starving reservations wide, left alone and staying up late, hoping their parent or parents didn’t drink or shoot up all the check.
Thank you for the alcohol-related car wrecks that have turned epic poems into tragic short stories.
Thank for the tiny white crosses plunged deep like hot knives into our land and the reservation roadsides that always claim another victim from families dying a little inside every time they drive past them.
Thank you for the F.A.S. and F.A.E. babies turned high school dropouts because the Caucasian teacher from a different world was never taught enough before coming to the rez to teach.
Thank you for the reservation suicides that have killed the spirits of those left behind.
Thank you for using us as mascots, making our young ones feel uncertain in their skin and redefining honor for them by turning us into a cold, unfeeling, symbol for a sports team where drunken fans honor us by mocking us.
Thank you for leading us on to reservations with no guidebooks on how to live in your world on our land, where we are still stumbling and learning, trial by heartbreaking error, to this day.
Thank you for your stereotypical portrayal of us in film and the movies where the white men are the heroes saving the Indians despite the Native-like titles like Dances With Wolves, Thunderheart.
Thank you for stealing our land, raping it like some woman you never knew the name of, leaving her crying, traumatized, bleeding.
* * *
Thank you for razing our homeland, cutting it up into states, poorly piecing it together and shrouding us in it like a quilt infested with smallpox.
I am thankful for all of this for making me feel too fucking much.
I am thankful for all of this turning me into a clenched fist in times when words don’t hit hard enough.
I am thankful for all of this, for stirring the spirits of warriors dormant in us for centuries.
I am thankful for all of this because, without it, I could never write this.
Thank you for the artillery, arrows for my bow.
Born a few centuries too late and raised on U.S.D.A. approved commodity everything, Jonathan Garfield is an enrolled Assiniboine tribal member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux reservation in Montana. His stories document the tragedy forced on “his people” (which he loves saying ‘cause it sounds cool) that is the rez. Jonathan has been published in various Art & Literature magazines and quarterlies. His short story, “Reservation Warparties”, became a short film, adapted to a screenplay and directed by Angelique Midthunnder. The short film was featured on the program, Independent Lens, on PBS. Jonathan Garfield continues to write poetry and short stories. He is also a practicing trickster.
As in slime, scum, slop.
Grease, goo, grime.
Mud, muck, mire.
Contamination, defilement, corruption.
As in 210,000 gallons of oil leaked from Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota last week. And don’t forget last year.
Who owns Keystone Pipeline?
Dakota Access, LLC, owns 75% of the pipeline while Phillips 66 owns a 25% stake. Energy Transfer Partners LP and Sunoco Logistic Partners LP own together 51% and MarEn Bakken Company, the joint venture of Enbridge (75%) and Marathon Petroleum, owns 49% of the Dakota Access, LLC. It gives the following indirect stakes in the pipeline:
- Energy Transfer Partners LP and Sunoco Logistic Partners LP together – 38.2%
- Enbridge – 27.6%
- Phillips 66 – 25%
- Marathon Petroleum – 9.2%
According to his federal disclosure forms, filed in May 2016, President Donald Trump held between $15,000 and $50,000 in stock in Energy Transfer Partners – down from $500,000 to $1 million in 2015 – and between $100,000 and $250,000 in Phillips 66. This creates a conflict of interest when making presidential decisions affecting the pipeline project. The senior Democrat on the Public Resources Committee, Raul Grijalva, called this appearance of conflict of interest “disturbing”. The Washington Post reported that Trump sold off his shares in Energy Transfer Partners in the summer of 2016. The credibility of this claim has been questioned by liberal organizations.
Trump is also indirectly linked to the project because Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren contributed $103,000 to the Trump campaign. Trump has said that he supports the completion of the pipeline project. According to his transition team, this position “has nothing to do with his personal investments and everything to do with promoting policies that benefit all Americans.”
A former staffer of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad re-election campaign, Susan Fenton, who is now the director of government affairs with the Des Moines public relations firm LS2, is handling public relations for Energy Transfer. Texas governor Rick Perry was a member of the Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics Partners boards of directors but resigned after Trump selected Perry as his nomination for Energy Secretary In December 2016. Kelcy Warren had contributed $6 million to Perry’s 2016 Presidential campaign.
What does Dakota Pipeline Access have to say?
If you go to the Dakota Access Pipeline Facts, you’ll find they have a page dedicated to misconceptions. Then within the misconceptions section, you’ll find a document called: The Dakota Access Pipeline is safe.
The Dakota Access Pipeline is built to survive the test of time, extreme weather, and natural disaster. It uses state-of-the art construction material, including heavy-walled steel pipe that is nearly 50% thicker than required by law.
What about current events listed on their page dedicated to News and Opinions?
Selected editorials by unknown authors saying things like “protesters aligned with powerful forces in the White House, with Hollywood celebrities, and with plenty of money behind them from wacky anti-capitalist financiers” and articles celebrating the $20,000 donations made to counties and photo ops that remind me of Trump asking Ricardo Rossello if the United States “did a great job” in response to Hurricane Maria.
Would you like to contact Dakota Access Pipeline? Here’s the contact info they share:
A riff rings in my ear. An earworm beckoning. A song in labor awaiting its due date.
There are too many subjects to consider focusing upon for this song that knocks at the door to my soul. I let the song in and we have a conversation. “Can’t you put them all together?” the riff asks.
“If only I possessed that much wisdom and patience. It would take a lifetime to learn all the lessons these atrocities teach.”
“You’re already 42. I’m not leaving.”
And the riff rings again.
Take A Moment To Thank A Veteran
When you see someone in a uniform,
Someone who serves us all,
Doing military duty,
Answering their country’s call,
Take a moment to thank them
For protecting what you hold dear;
Tell them you are proud of them;
Make it very clear.
Just tap them on the shoulder,
Give a smile, and say,
“Thanks for what you’re doing
To keep us safe in the USA!”
By Joanna Fuchs
I made the long journey from Oregon to Montana yesterday.
In Oregon, you can’t pump your own gas. In my RV, you have to open the driver’s door in order to open the gas tank. This usually means that I spend the next few minutes answering questions about mileage, my tires or my destination. Every once in a while, I get to dig into the life of the person standing in the rain who deals with people all day.
Yesterday it was a man who happens to work part-time at a gas station, happens to be black and happens to be work full-time as a fireman. He told me about a woman who threw out the comment, “You’re probably a convicted felon…” as flippant as a statement about the weather. As my face grew hot with disgust and rage and shame, I asked him how he responded.
“I told her they don’t hire convicted felons.” He turned to me and smiled as I waited for more. But clearly that was it. I raised my eyebrows and nodded with respect. “Way to rise above, ” I said.
“The ignorance just keeps growing…” he said, shaking his head. My tank was full and he had to move on to more customers whom I hoped were more kind and less ignorant than the one he described. He wished me safe travels home and I left that small town in which I was born. That small town filled with family I love and memories that warm my heart. The old phrase from college fills my head again:
Quash the ignorant with enlightenment. STAT.
A faint glimmer of hope continues to grow stronger as voices unite. Let the angry hold up the sad until the sad hold up the angry. Let the strong hold up the weak until they grow strong together. Let the tentative be beckoned by the brave until a wall of indomitable force is built. Let this become the foundation of a flame that is passed on and on like the Olympic torch. Let the integrity of our souls shimmer and sparkle; intertwining to create a light so luminous it can’t be ignored.
for this fight.
The view from a globe rather than a scope
The day after. So many lives lost. So many emotions. Our hearts hurt for this tiny town in Texas, just as they hurt for the other towns and cities before. Our minds reel with questions. Our souls seek solutions. Stricter gun control may not be the panacea, but a dialogue repeatedly swept under the rug incessantly reappears. As our negligence grows, so does the problem. And here we kneel in tragic crisis. The hands wrapped around our heads to protect us block out the sound and expose our hearts.
I see you, white man, with your impetuous finger on the trigger.
We loved how Marianne Boruch’s poem inspired Jean Mackay’s beautifully detailed drawing of a bird’s nest: “Woven basket of a saint sent back to life as a bird…”
via Nest — Discover