A Truth-Taking by Illin N Chillin

root - Posted on 01 January 2000

by Leroy Moore/PNN & Krip Hop

The first official Thanksgiving in this country between the wealthy White settlers and Native Americans followed the same pattern of my 2001 Thanksgiving, looking back at it now. In both situations people of color were evicted from their homes and land by new wealthy White landlords. Everybody knows what happened between Native Americans and the White settlers at that time. Let me tell you it didn't match the description of the Last Supper that the Bible talked about, although it was the last supper for the Native Americans on their land that they respected and cultivated. The same was true for my sister and me on Thanksgiving in 2000, the Last Supper, together in San Francisco. In place of grocery bags stuffed with food were boxes stuffed with our belongings. No relatives, no friends, just a wealthy White landlord breathing down our backs making sure his place was clean that he recently bought with his inheritance and the fortune he made during the dot-com boom. Yes, another eviction!

Just like Native Americans in the US, who were forced to split up and travel to far away locations, thus breaking up families and tradition, my sister and I were forced apart. Because of this eviction, breaking up the tradition of my sister's famous stuffin' and our tight bond. She traveled across the country and I across the Bay in search for an affordable home. It's funny how history repeats itself! Like the days of the Underground Railroad, the ones that helped my sister and I out were also White, working class poor who sympathized and felt the injustice of gentrification by opening their homes to us once in Burlington, VT, and another in Berkeley, CA.

The year was 2002. Another Thanksgiving, too broke to buy a ticket to see my family on the East Coast so I decided to take my last thirty dollars from my Uncle Sam's disability benefits to get some food for the Thanksgiving weekend and to last me till the first of the month. You see like many of my disabled brothers and sisters, I too had to and still do decide between transportation and food, clothing etc. And because most of us are on a strict budget, I chose food at that point. Now how can I cook a turkey in a microwave! I thought to myself in the grocery store. After leaving with my food for my Turkey Day and for the rest of the month, I noticed a poor, working class Black man beside me asking me would I like help with my bags. I politely said no but he continued to grab my bag. To make a long story short, he learned what the wealthy White settlers did to the Native Americans, he discovered my Thanksgiving dinner and food that I just bought with my last dollar.

In 2004 the White settlers, our State government, had their hands out again to Native Americans in California with Proposition 70, asking them to pay taxes from their own casinos almost three weeks before we celebrate another Thanksgiving. However, like the saying goes, you can't keep a good person down. Now the federal government is asking for donations!! Isn't that a flip!

After the unsteady years of the dot-com and the fall of it, my sister, her sons and I will be eating her famous stuffing and continue to strengthen our family ties here in Berkeley, CA. Our ancestors, family ties, hearts and our sense of what is right are stronger than the systematic oppression that pours onto our shoulders daily like gravy. Happy Thanksgiving to our Native brothers and sisters and your family! Eat today for the revolution tomorrow!


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