The essence of American culture will be captured in the next two days.
On Thanksgiving, Americans come together with loved ones to indulge in food – while simultaneously engaging in a form of organized forgetting about violence against the indigenous people. As we stuff ourselves with mashed potatoes, members of the Sioux Nation in North Dakota are being hit with water cannons and tear gas for protecting sacred land and their water supply from contamination by an oil pipeline.
Making matters worse is the fact that the big football game tomorrow is loaded with anti-indigenous imagery. The Washington Redskins are playing the Dallas Cowboys. The logo and team name for the Redskins is based on a racial epithet and caricature of Native Americans. Historically, the original cowboys had a hand in slaughtering the indigenous people and pushing them off settlements. Yet this violence is glorified, and the Cowboys are referred to as “America’s team”. This ties into the childhood game of ‘Cowboys and Indians’ whereby Natives were portrayed negatively as the Other who needs to be policed.
More people identify with a caricature of Native Americans in a game than actual Native Americans fighting for humanity in real life.
On Black Friday, all of this is simply glossed over and exacerbated by mindless consumerism. The goal of shoppers with their fanny-packs full of coupons is to purchase the most things at the lowest prices. People are concerned with objects, not relations. Keep in mind that this worldview is what subjected indigenous populations to genocide and conquest in the first place – and it is what requires their continued domination today.