November 13% Blue Tax Beneficiary: Mending the Sacred Hoop
I used to teach high school history class in a rural central Oregon town and when November comes around, I start thinking about the mythology that is taught about Thanksgiving in our history books. Happy indigenous people and pilgrims were not sitting around in feathers and funny hats feasting on fat turkeys and pumpkin pie.
I’ve used a short play in my classroom to teach a more accurate history of Thanksgiving, called Harvest Ceremony: Beyond the Thanksgiving Myth by Martha Kreipe de Montaña.
Here is an edited excerpt where a native daughter and father are talking over pie:
Mattie: I know the Europeans needed Indian help to survive-
Dad: I bet your books don’t say they repaid this help by taking Wampanoag land and nearly wiping them out-
Mattie: Well, no. But didn’t historians write these books? Surely they-
Dad: And who were the historians?
Mattie: Oh! The Europeans, of course. I didn’t think about that...I can’t believe the Europeans wrote their own version of history. I thought history books were supposed to give you the facts-
Dad: Now you know you can’t always believe what’s in books. It’s true- they left a lot out.
What has been left out of history books is the truth that since European explorers stepped foot in the Americas, they have been responsible for the intentional and strategic genocide and oppression of Native Americans. And thankfully, due to the strength, wisdom, community, and resistance of Native people, they are still here today living full lives beyond the history books myths.
For the month of November, I want to honor and support Native women today, so the 13% Blue Tax will be donated to Mending the Sacred Hoop. The Mending the Sacred Hoop mission “works from a social change perspective to end violence against Native women and children while restoring the safety, sovereignty, and sacredness of Native women” (mshoop.org).
On the Mending The Sacred Hoop website, they list what frames their work and I’ve included it here:
- Native women are the highest victimized population in the United States by perpetrators of all races. (Bureau of Crime Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice. American Indians and Crime Report. Washington: 1999).
- Violence against women is a social problem that affects individuals, families, and communities (including schools, medical, and judicial institutions), and as such, requires societal change.
- Domestic and sexual violence is about establishing power and maintaining control.
- Colonization is based in a belief that one group has the right to exert their will over another and use people and resources for their own gain.
- Acculturated values and beliefs have eroded our Indigenous structures and lifeways.
- We have to reclaim our own Indigenous teachings on culture and values to create social change in and for our communities (mshoop.org/about-us/).
November is also an election month and so often when I listen to politicians talking about groups of people - black lives matter, lgtbq rights, women’s equality, condemning islamophobia, working poor, immigration - they leave Native issues off the list. Let’s remember Native communities are still here and support Native led organizations to be recognized and heard amidst our national discourse.
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