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An Indian's Thanksgiving Proposal By: David Yeagley
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, November 26, 2004

Many Indians feel they’re being “true” Indians when they hate America. To them, any Indian with favorable sentiments toward the country is a “sell-out,” or a weak, damaged Indian. But the opposite is true. Their position of resentment is servile, and though it’s politically lucrative for the leftist, it’s psychologically inhibitive and harmful to Indians. Those who advocate dissatisfaction are doing the real damage.

Certainly, many Indians today have suffered horrible abuse from racial and cultural prejudice. They find solace, therefore, in racial, cultural resentment and hatred. But the plight of these wronged Indians should never be made into a national image, or a cultural model. To broker discontent, to encourage anger, insults the strong. Hatred suffocates every natural aspiration of the heart, and cuts off the avenues of true development in a person. Self-appointed Indian “leaders” who glorify revenge are deluded. Even protesting the “Washington Redskins,” a career focus for Susan Harjo, is merely a self-serving maneuver for profit, and exemplifies a fussy feminist, rather than a true warrior. These kinds of Indian “leaders” are quickly becoming passé, as more young people realize the burdensome and futility of professional discontent.


But how can Indians be thankful for America? America is a fabulous country, but it was indeed built on Indian land, in our faces. Wars were fought, treaties were made (and broken), Indians were displaced, and today many white Americans criticize Indians for profiteering at white people’s expense through the gambling business. How should Indians relate to such irony?


The answer may be in metaphors. Think of America as an abandoned child. The Pilgrims were an unwanted, impoverished waif, a bastard child of Europe, who washed up on our shores half naked, sick, and starving. America was a helpless babe.


Indians took the child, fed it, cared for it, raised it, taught it how to get along with other people, and the next thing you know, the child began to outgrow us! It was from a breed of giants, of which we knew nothing. The child had the genes of greatness. He couldn’t help himself.


He soon grew too big for us, and began to push us aside. He stuffed us in cultural “nursing homes” (reservations), while he continued to flex his new-found muscles. He soon became a competitor in the world, and finally became the mightiest nation on earth.


As fate would have it, though, he’s now returning to the old Indian homes, and wants to encounter us again. Yes, it’s all about money. Never mind “rights,” and the other American ideals. This latest engagement is a matter of mean dollars.


Has he changed? Have Indians changed? Have either of us learned anything from the past?


I’ve learned that anger is a curse, and it’s often disguised as the pursuit of justice. Indians don’t really envy the white man, but Indians are intensely jealous of one another.


I can’t speak for the white man, but I believe he wants and needs validation from his adoptive father, the Indian. America desperately wants the Indian’s approval. America needs our blessing, not our resentment. He may not even know it, but what he really wants is our forgiveness. He wants acceptance, for in all of his greatness, there is great error. We both know this.


He has often wanted us to join him, and when we don’t, he thinks we are condemning him. But this really isn’t so. Indians simply love being Indian. When we don’t seek to emulate him, like virtually every other people in the world, it baffles him, and makes him feel insecure.


He needn’t feel thus. He should simply understand that Indians are content to be Indian. There is no accusation of him in this. He must be content to allow us to be ourselves. We can give him our blessing without imitating him.


I bless the Washington Redskins. Let the white man indulge in his deepest memories of the Indian. Let him celebrate the archetypes within his soul. Let him have his Indian, in whatever way is meaningful. We cannot dictate to his conscience.


People like Harjo confuse the white man, and imprison Indians with discontent. The Harjos represent weakness and slovenly spirits. This isn’t what the white man remembers of the Indian at all. He remembers a strong father, and a great warrior. Let it ever be thus.


Let Indians be proud of our adopted son, and bless him. Never mind the wrongs he did to us. Seeking “justice” takes the “noble” out of “savage.”

Dr. David A. Yeagley is a published scholar, professionally recorded composer, and an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Liberal Studies. He's on the speakers list of Young America's Foundation. E-mail him at badeagle2000@yahoo.com. View his website at http://www.badeagle.com.

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