News Release

“Myth of Thanksgiving” and Mideast Policy Today


“American Progress” by John Gast, 1872

Dunbar-Ortiz is author or editor of seven books, including An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States. She wrote the piece “The Myth of Thanksgiving.” She said today: “Once again, we find Europeans and U.S. Americans as victims of irrational and evil forces. Somehow, the endless U.S. and NATO aggressive wars and threats of war, the terror created by continued bombing and drone strikes in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, with their majority Muslim populations, fade into the background, as if they started these wars. How dare anyone strike back at the god-given Christian empire? The centuries-long Christian Crusades against Muslims, then more centuries of European colonization of Muslim countries, with imperialist ventures and wars increasingly lead by the U.S. in the 20th century, are retroactively justified by the intentional killing of 149 French civilians. This is an old story and routine of Western aggression imperialism. The ‘weaponization of grief,’ as this counterinsurgent war tactic has been called, is one of the lowest forms of deception.

“Thanksgiving, is a prototype of that tactic — the enduring myth of grieving religious dissidents (of course accompanied by a mercenary security detail larger than their own numbers) invaded and occupied another people’s territory, and those merciless savages whose territory it was were not properly appreciative despite the intruders alleged kindness. A few years later, with more boat loads of religious dissidents arriving and expropriating more farms and food supplies, the Indigenous communities regrouped and began to fight back, and the ‘weaponization of grief’ took hold justifying settler violence and theft of land and resources. This origin story of the United States, repeated in the militaristic march across North America, as well as overseas, forms the core of U.S. counterinsurgency, regeneration through violence, which produces responses that allows the aggressor to assume the mantel of the aggrieved. Anyone who questions this stance and brings up history, especially since 9/11, is slapped down and stomped on.”