The Dance of Illusions

The dance of illusions is ever with us, perpetuating fictive histories and divisions among people. Today, I’ve decided to reblog an old post. May all refugees find safe and welcoming homes where they are seen as a part of a diverse and wondrous family.

Voices from the Margins

Carol A. Hand

At this time of year, when many families in the U.S. are celebrating Thanksgiving, I am reminded that it is a fictive holiday. It was initially celebrated in the 1600s by the descendants of European colonizers and immigrants to assert their sense of belonging in a nation founded on the genocide of indigenous peoples, massive land thefts and, in later years, the enslavement of darker skinned peoples from around the globe. For many descendants who describe themselves as a mix of ancestries, a “Heinz 57” of national and ethnic ancestries, Thanksgiving is an important holiday that symbolizes what is unique about their identity as real “Americans.” There is nothing real about nationalism – it is a social construction used to justify oppression and dispossession by “white-washing” history. But how are these descendants of colonizers able to learn the truth about history?

Photo Source: Daily News, 2013

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7 thoughts on “The Dance of Illusions

  1. Almost all of us have ancestors who came from other places. Who risked everything to make a difficult voyage and start a new life here. What would they think of their descendents if they wanted to build walls and deny others that opportunity.

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  2. This is a very important post and I will narrate an incident from my child hood school when we read about Columbus and this day. When our teacher told us that he went to discover America (although I do not agree to that) but when we asked her what he found there, she said Indians. But that was it. I found slightly similar simple analogies being taught for other First Nations, including many local indigenous tribes of Pakistan. Now at my age, I find it really disturbing because there aren’t any Government records or archives available and on other hand, there is emphasis on celebrating nationalist holidays. I find that disturbing at various levels, sorry for going off topic but your post is very thought provoking and kinda made me share my ranting here, please excuse that.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing this incident and the realizations it sparked for you about the importance of indigenous historical perspectives. I remember reading ethnographic accounts about Ojibwe culture that were written when my grandmother and mother were children. The researchers thought nothing of referring to the Ojibwe people they were studying as the “children of savages.” We need to write our own histories and record our own stories, something I see in your thoughtful and important work.

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  3. Its a pleasure and I am a great believer in writing our own stories and reclaiming the spaces for our history, our context and what better to do that with writing on human lives, people.
    Sometimes, I am told that I need to move on from repeating the same old story but, its so interesting to note that such attitudes come from the winners of wars, the invaders and colonizers.
    Your work is very thought provoking and I will be interested in improving my limited knowledge of the Ojibwe culture. Outraging and beneath dignity terms like “Children of savages” need to be abolished!!!

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