by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News
Today is a holiday of “Thanksgiving” for many people in the United States.
While I do not want to ruin the day for those who are truly thankful for blessings in their lives, especially if the thanks is directed towards God and his grace extended to mankind (In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18), I think it is important to understand that this is not a day of Thanksgiving for many people, but a day of mourning.
Dr. Gary Kohl  has reminded us that Native Americans are not fond of Thanksgiving. Here is the text of a plaque that overlooks Plymouth Rock, the site where Puritans first landed on Native American soil that explains why Thanksgiving has only negative connotations for non-whites:
“Since 1970, Native Americans have gathered at noon on Cole’s Hill in Plymouth to commemorate a National Day of Mourning on the US Thanksgiving holiday.
Many Native Americans do not celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims and other European settlers.
To them, Thanksgiving Day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of their people, the theft of their lands, and the relentless assault on their culture.
Participants in a National Day of Mourning honor Native ancestors and the struggles of Native peoples to survive today. It is a day of remembrance and spiritual connection as well as a protest of the racism and oppression which Native Americans continue to experience.”
Dr. Kohl points out that by today’s modern standards, what happened in the past with Native Americans on U.S. soil would today be considered “crimes against humanity” and “genocide.”
“What happened to the Dakota in 1862 and afterward was a grievous crime against humanity. If it had occurred in this present day and age the United Nations and the international community would condemn it and declare it to be ethnocide and genocide. A United Nations world court indictment would be issued and the perpetrators of this ethnocide and genocide would be rounded up, tried, convicted and punished for crimes against humanity.” — Thomas Dahlheimer from his essay, A History Of The Dakota People In The Mille Lacs Area 
Alexander Ramsey, Minnesota’s second governor, once reportedly said:
“The Sioux (Dakota) Indians of Minnesota must be exterminated or driven forever beyond the borders of the state.”
Dr. Kohl believes Minnesota’s first two governors, Henry Sibley and Alexander Ramsey, should be posthumously tried for crimes against humanity.
According to the International Law Commission’s Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind (1996), Article 18, the definition of a crime against humanity is as follows:
“…any of the following acts, when committed in a systematic manner or on a large scale and instigated or directed by a Government or by any organization or group:
(e) Persecution on political, racial, religious or ethnic grounds;
(f) Institutionalized discrimination on racial, ethnic or religious grounds involving the violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms and resulting in seriously disadvantaging a part of the population;
(g) Arbitrary deportation or forcible transfer of population;
(h) Arbitrary imprisonment;
(i) Forced disappearance of persons;
(j) Rape, enforced prostitution and other forms of sexual abuse;
(k) Other inhumane acts which severely damage physical or mental integrity, health or human dignity, such as mutilation and severe bodily harm.”
History very clearly shows that racism has plagued the United States since its inception, from the African slave trade to the treatment of Native Americans.
This racist discrimination against Native Americans was very evident in the Dakotas, particularly among the Lakota people.
Once (Minnesota Governor) Sibley had accomplished his task of quelling Dakota resistance…he then worked to execute plans that shifted from standard war practices to practices that may be deemed genocidal…With surrendered Dakota people in custody, the troops separated the men from the women and children. To deceive the Dakota men into submission, the army told them they needed to be counted separately for disbursement of the long-overdue treaty annuities.
Once separated, the army shackled them and tried them in an ad hoc military tribunal that remains one of the most egregious acts of injustice in the American legal system.
As legal scholar Carol Chomsky has demonstrated in her meticulous research on the 1862 trials, ‘the Dakota were a sovereign nation at war with the United States, and the men who fought the war were entitled to be treated as legitimate belligerents’ rather than as criminals.
When the tribunal had finished its dirty work, 303 Dakota men were sentenced to execution and another twenty sentenced to prison terms.
As many as forty-two cases were tried in a single day, some taking as little as five minutes before condemning another Dakota man to death.
Had the findings of Sibley’s tribunal been carried out as intended, it would have meant the immediate elimination of an estimated one-tenth of the total male population estimated to be in Minnesota at the time of the war, and probably a third of the able-bodied men.
As it was, when the thirty-eight were hanged on December 26, 1862, in what remains the largest, simultaneous mass hanging from one gallows in world history, this was a spectacular way to implement an extermination policy under the guise of legality. (Source .)
If your family heritage was from Native American ancestry, would you be celebrating Thanksgiving today?
Native American Genocide Continuing in 21st Century?
Albert Bender  is a Cherokee Indian. He is a freelance reporter and political columnist for News From Indian Country, and other Native and non-Native publications. He is also a historian and attorney specializing in Native American law.
Attorney Bender claims that genocide against Native Americans in South Dakota is happening today, through the state-sponsored kidnapping of their children, who are then adopted into White families.
He writes :
Genocide is not too strong a term for what is now happening in South Dakota. The huge, shocking violation of legal and human rights being carried out by the state is tantamount to genocide against the Native American nations, the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota Sioux, residing within its borders. It is the abduction and kidnapping by state officials, under the cover of law, of American Indian children.
This is a gross violation of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978. Further, these abominable kidnappings are being upheld by the courts of that state.
The best approach to this crime against humanity is by the following initial checklist:
- Over 700 American Indian children are removed by South Dakota state officials from their homes every year.
- These hundreds are sent to white foster homes or group homes.
- Many are adopted by white families.
- Indian children account for 13.8 percent of the state’s child population, yet they represent 56.3 percent of the foster care population.
- Of the hundreds of Native children in foster care in 2011, 87 percent were placed in non-Indian homes while Native foster homes went empty.
- Because of its targeting Native children, South Dakota is currently removing children from their families at a higher rate than the vast majority of other states in the U.S.
- Once removed, the state’s courts routinely keep Indian children from even seeing their families for at least 60 days.
- The state’s Department of Social Services (DSS) workers warn Native children that if they become emotional during a visit with their parents, the visits will be discontinued (this is incredible!).
Watch this video with interviews of parents and children allegedly abused by the social services system in South Dakota:
“A Lakota child is ten times more likely to be removed from his/her family and forced into foster care than a Caucasian child, and nearly 60% of South Dakota’s foster care children are Native American.”
In the video below, former social workers in South Dakota speak out about the abuses against Native Americans in South Dakota. One man reports that when he left Social Services and started to speak out, they came and took his own kids away from him.
Attorney Daniel Sheehan reports that The Department of Social Services makes up 53% of the entire budget for the state of South Dakota every year, right on the backs of the Native people. Massive federal funding flows into the state for every child put into the foster care system.
Thanksgiving: A Time for Family Gatherings, but Not for Parents who have had their Children Kidnapped by the State
If you are fortunate enough to be able to spend Thanksgiving with family members, you truly do have something to be thankful about.
But for multitudes in the United States today, holidays like Thanksgiving are simply grim reminders of crimes committed against them that destroyed their families.
If you are not aware of many of these atrocities committed against families in the United States every day, please see:
Is There Anything Left to be Thankful About?
It is very easy to look at the condition of our culture today, to see the injustice and abuses occurring on a daily basis, and lose hope.
Why should one be thankful in the face of terrible injustice, where evil flourishes with seemingly no end in sight, and where it appears that there is no way to fight the corruption that is now the norm?
Yes, there is still reason to be thankful!
An ancient wise man once viewed the corruption and injustice in his culture, and faced despair. But he wrote in the biblical book of Psalms:
But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence.
From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits. They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression.
All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning.
When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.
Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!
As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies.
When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. (Psalm 73)
Those of us walking the earth today only see part of the story. We are limited, seeing only things in the physical realm, and within our own lifespan.
But the story is not over. There is a God, and there is a Supreme Court not of this world, part of the eternal kingdom.
Jesus Christ is the ruler of this eternal kingdom.
He came into our world once, over 2000 years ago, as a helpless baby, miraculously born of a virgin woman, and as the Son of God.
When he became a man and revealed himself to the world, he exposed their corruption and evil practices, resulting in his persecution and eventual execution. He told his followers:
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
This is my command: Love each other.
If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.
As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. (John 15:16-19)
After his death and resurrection of the dead, and subsequent ascension to heaven, the acts of his early disciples and how they turned the world upside down were recorded in the Bible.
These disciples found a joy and thankful heart in serving their King, Jesus Christ, and sharing in his sufferings as they exposed the corruption of their culture.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”
With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence.
All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:8-18 emphasis added)
The joy they experienced in serving Jesus Christ is the same joy available to us today in our service to Christ, and it is the true cause of a thankful heart.
It starts by recognizing that we are helpless, and also guilty of our own sins, and deserve nothing. To be adopted into God’s family is to simply receive his invitation by faith to come into his family.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will–to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. (Ephesians 1:4-8)
If you are adopted into God’s family today, for that you can be truly thankful, as it is something the world cannot offer to you. Through your service to Jesus in gratitude, you have the ability to see the world through different eyes, understanding that the story is not over yet, and that you have a place in God’s eternal kingdom, where ultimate justice will be served.
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