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Five Little Indians

I went to my 3yr old son's day care yesterday morning for their parent's Thanksgiving deal. They did colors (each feather of the turkey had a color and they had to name it), sang some songs, and wore paper "Indian head dresses" with fake paper feathers. The kids were mostly game and it was cute. As far as it went.

Indians were probably always props in the Thanksgiving drama but now it seems they are even less iconic. The imagry of Thanksgiving is, so far as I can tell, a specific feast in preparation for Black Friday (which was, itself, also mythic--it was not the busiest day of the shopping year--but now it might be). The iconography has even been replaced: as we are now celebrating a retail event those retail outlets won't have turkeys up--or pilgrims--or even Indians. They'll have (pagan) Christmas decoration when we get to the stores and we'll hear Christmas music (which is, to be fair, sometimes somewhat more Christian).

We decided to do Thanksgiving "traditionally" (meaning a turkey, pumpkin pie, and so on) since our son is learning about it in school so we want to kind of reinforce the tradition. I'm okay with that--I think that Thanksgiving, whatever the economic drivers, is really about family emotionally and the economic drivers (today, at least) around Christmas are around hope. The holiday hiring and economic boosts, the wish to give families bonuses to stimulate shopping, and so on gives us 2 or 3 months to pretend the economy (esp: coming collapse of Europe) isn't as bad as it looks.

And I'm okay with that too: the mental aspects of morale are more important in winning a war (or turning around an economy--or healing after a divisive election) than the physical ones. If we can get two months of joy and retail therapy out of this I'm okay with throwing Native Americans under the bus and appropriating their symbols in the most naive manner possible.

Of course that's easy for me to say: my ancestors were incredible dicks which made it possible for me to blase about it.