Bay Native Circle, for November 21, 2012 - 2:00pm
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Dear Lakota and my Red sisters and brothers
I write you from Nairobi, Kenya. I am white, - British, & increasingly aware of the atrocities perpetrated by my compatriots in North America and Africa, and the many parallels. I lived for 13 years in San Francisco, until 1995, where I had some dear Indian friends and teachers. I used to listen to kpfa then, rediscovered it online in Vietnam and I continue to listen regularly here in Kenya. Bay Native Circle has always been one of my favourite programmes. I honour your struggle and am here rooting for you from afar.
I am an English teacher, among other things, and yesterday I felt compelled to explain the real meaning of ‘Thanksgiving’ to my two classes of adult students. I had already prepared the night before, but at 6am, before breakfast, I tuned in to your show and found myself weeping into my coffee. Robbie Robertson’s song was so poignant I decided to bring it into the classroom and let it speak for your people. We all learnt something about the Ghost Dance and Wounded Knee. People were both shocked and moved to learn of the genocide, so hidden from the rest of the world. I devoted the second half of the class to the gifts Indians have given (corn, chili, chocolate, squash, beans, tobacco, etc) and how they have spread across the planet.
My students are from Cameroon, Iran, Japan, Sudan, South Sudan, Spain, China, Colombia, South Korea, France, Benin, Congo, Mauritania and Kenya. None of them knew much about Thanksgiving or even Native Americans before, but they left much the wiser.
May you become ever more visible. May you come again. May you Walk in Beauty.
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