In this installment of our weekly Sunday Six conversation, PF Whalen and Parker Beauregard of The Blue State Conservative share their thoughts about the month of November being recognized as Indigenous Peoples’ Month.
#6: Do we really need an entire month for this type of stuff?
PF: First let me say, I fully support folks embracing their ancestry and any culture that goes along with it. I get it. A majority of my lineage traces back to Ireland, and I love the Irish culture, along with Irish-American culture (and yes, there is a difference). But first and foremost, I’m American.
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For me, and for many Irish-Americans, the month of March is the unofficial “Irish-American History Month,” or whatever the heck one wants to call it. We’ve got St. Patrick’s Day on the seventeenth, there are all kinds of celebrations, and such festiveness is noticeable around the country. But in reality, it doesn’t last the whole month.
Some people are putting up images of shamrocks and leprechauns on their front doors by early-March, but that’s about the only visible signs of the shenanigans that are coming. By mid-March there are Saint Patrick’s Day parties and parades, with people wearing green, drinking green beer, singing Irish songs, and eating Irish soda bread and corned beef and cabbage. But by March 20th, it’s pretty much over, except for the memories and maybe some hangovers.
It’s also worth wondering if we’ll run out of months at some point. President George H. W. Bush declared November “American Indian History Month” over thirty years ago, and we can’t help but notice the change in terminology to the more ‘woke’ moniker it’s now given. And we’ve also got February as “Black History Month,” June is now “Gay Pride Month,” and “Hispanic Heritage Month” straddles September and October for some reason, beginning on September 15th and ending on October 15th. So where does it end? Does every minority, or even non-minority group deserve their own month? It’s all about wokeness obviously, and you must be part of the left’s intersectional hierarchy of victimhood to get an official month, but it all seems silly… and it’s getting sillier.
#5: Thanksgiving is on the chopping block.
Parker: I was trying to get crafty with this subheading after all, the Atlanta Braves, Florida Seminoles, and a (shrinking) number of organizations do “the chop” among the fandom rallying cry. Rallying cry – is that a native reference, too? Everything is touchy and off-limits these days. (I say this facetiously, but it’s also 100% true. I wrote about the left’s Orwellian control of language here. As Orwell noted, reducing the words we have reduces the thoughts we can have. Scary stuff.)
At any rate, the fact that anything related to Native American and Indigenous folks is recognized in November is an obvious affront to Thanksgiving. I don’t think enough people say this or see it as a problem. These people had any month they wanted – except February – and they chose November? I don’t buy it. For the same reason that Columbus Day is being forcefully morphed into IPD, it is impossible to deny that the traditional cornucopia and suite of Pilgrim-themed remembrances are under cultural attack.
Too many people are disinterested, avoid, or aloof to the culture wars in America. Libertarians generally focus only on fiscal policy and the size of government, failing to realize that politics is informed by culture. We might have a ballooning deficit, but it’s only because we have Marxists in office. This is not a chicken-or-egg problem, my libertarian friends. The culture problem comes first. Too many others avoid it altogether. They don’t like confrontation and don’t know what to say without coming across as insensitive because conservatives are nicer people, so they avoid it at all costs to their own detriment.
Finally, there is a sizable subsection of the population that simply fails to see what is happening. I work in public education and so I have an all too-intimate relationship with insanity. Just as Christmas became Winter Break and Easter coincides with Spring Break, there is a marked push to rename Thanksgiving Break as Fall Break. That’s the first step. Many wokesters in my field will not call it by name, simply the fall celebration, gathering in November, and other such euphemistic monikers. Around the same time, those arts and crafts days on the day before the extended break with black and white pilgrim hats, retelling of the story of the First Thanksgiving, and turkey lunches in the cafeteria have devolved into Critical Race Theory shaming sessions.
I hate to say it, but unless we actively defend Thanksgiving, it’s going away. And that’s not good, because every society needs an origin story. If our beginnings are framed as evil and destructive, it is easy to suggest and follow through on the dismantling of an allegedly unworthy society.
#4: The initiative is supposed to recognize Native American culture and heritage, not oppression.
PF: In the original resolution in 1990 to set aside November for these purposes, it stated, “we celebrate the fascinating history and time-honored traditions of Native Americans, we also look to the future.” That sounds reasonable to me. There were also mentions of Sacagawea teaming with Lewis and Clark, and some of the important contributions to society that other Native Americans have made.
That’s all fine and dandy, in my opinion, and I think Native Americans have a lot of which to be proud. Jim Thorpe, who was a full-blooded Native American, is one of the most remarkable figures in the history of athletics. That’s the type of story that was originally supposed to be celebrated. But it seems like every year in November, the focus shifts more on spotlighting the injustices done to Native Americans over the years.
To be clear, there were major injustices inflicted on the native people in our history. It’s undeniable. And while we shouldn’t be in the business of debating which group suffered the worst injustices in their histories, it seems like that’s what inevitably happens. But the fact is, there have been no institutional injustices inflicted on Native Americans, or anyone else for that matter, since at least the Civil Rights Act of 1964, almost sixty years ago.
There were brutal and despicable injustices thrust upon the Irish when they first came to America; just look up “No Irish Need Apply,” and see what comes up, or watch the movie “Gangs of New York.” It was blatant discrimination based largely on our Catholicism. It was xenophobic, in some cases it was violent, and it was wrong. But that’s over. It’s history. My grandfather was the victim of injustices, and I know for a fact that I’ve been discriminated against because of my heritage as well. But I’m not going to linger on it, and no one of Irish descent should. The fact is, we’re truly blessed to be Americans; all of us.
Native Americans have a wonderful, rich history, and they have much to celebrate. That should be the focus of “Indigenous Peoples’ Month,” and nothing else. Let’s hope that’s what we see beginning tomorrow.
#3: The entire month reminds us that I am glad North America was conquered by Europeans.
Parker: I figure I might as well stop passing around the peace pipe on this subject and just get the long knives out. Look, multiple things can be true at once. Folks with Indigenous ancestry should absolutely celebrate their heritage and retain meaningful rituals among the community. Everyone is better off – and therefore our society is better off as a whole – when people have positive connections to a community and spiritual force greater than themselves. So, good for that. Also, what happened in the 1800s and early 1900s with forced removals, treaty violations, wars, and boarding schools was all terrible, but in the context of human history it is not abnormal. (Gee, this is starting to sound just like America’s history with slavery where only we are portrayed as the bad guys, despite being one of the only countries to end the horrible practices that everyone committed.)
At the same time, while being able to acknowledge the positive aspects of one’s heritage and being aware of former sins, I can also comfortably say that I personally don’t want that and I don’t believe that any of them want it either. Hunting and gathering to survive? Living outside? Limited knowledge of the world? No modern conveniences? Again, this is nuanced; after Covid has been revealed to be a gigantic technocratic scam, I am fully onboard with self-sustainment, eating locally, food for medicine, and moving away from technology and pharmaceuticals. That being said, I am glad modernization is part of our repertoire. Would I rather we fix broken limbs with blowing smoke over the injury instead of modern techniques? Would I rather we ride horses for a week to tell our neighbors about the shooting star we saw? Never travel farther than a migrating herd of something? Forget all of that. Progress isn’t perfect, but it’s made life better in a lot of ways.
If given the choice, I do not believe for a nanosecond that Elizabeth Warren, Self-Righteous Bear Father, or any of these other activist types would eschew what has been handed to them in America and fly to the last few remote Amazon tribes to live as their own people did thousands of years ago. Do you? Does anyone? Honestly, they shouldn’t even be allowed to fly there. Make them walk. It’s one thing to discuss history; it’s another entirely to pretend it was better and they were better. Here’s a hard truth: Europeans came and took what they could just like everyone else. Native tribes did it to themselves long before and well after the European arrival. The only difference is that Europeans brought a religious worldview that encouraged progress and a curiosity to improve one’s lot. I, for one, am thankful to be alive in 21st-century America and not 16th-century Europe. My lifespan is double, and I get paid to pound a keyboard, not eke out a living in the fields for seven days a week. I am definitely glad that America has transformed the landscape here.
I hate ingratitude and insincerity. These sanctimonious Indigenous social justice people are exactly that – and more.
#2: Watch closely for leftists trying to twist discussions on the topic to anti-white racism.
PF: I wouldn’t be surprised to see this phenomenon emerge in the context of “Indigenous Peoples’ Month,” but I don’t expect to see it actually come from Indigenous Peoples groups. It will come from other leftists trying to weigh-in on behalf of Native Americans, attempting to exploit their “intersectional” identity.
We saw a disgusting example of such racism this week, this time coming from academia. A Rutgers professor named Brittney Cooper was defending Critical Race Theory during a recent discussion with an author at a conference and said, among other things, “I think that white people are committed to being villains in the aggregate,” along with, “We gotta take these motherf*****s out,” when referring to white people. What a charming woman Ms. Cooper is.
Racism can come in many forms, and it seems to me that anti-white racism is becoming increasingly common, along with anti-Asian racism. Any racism of any form is wrong, and this was a lesson that many of us thought was learned long ago, but apparently not. Many on the left apparently think it’s a winning strategy, promoting identity politics to the extreme. And they’re not even trying to hide it any longer.
The left’s approach of using ancient oppressions to justify present-day racism is gaining steam. Slavery was ended 156 years ago, and all forms of racial discrimination were outlawed 57 years ago, yet they are both examples of oppression that leftists use to rationalize their current racism against whites. Therefore, we should expect to see them try and manipulate the wrongs inflicted on Native Americans in a similar way. “Slavery was coordinated by white people and was really bad, but ‘The Trail of Tears’ was really bad too. Let’s hate white folks together.” I hope we don’t see this tactic employed with Indigenous Peoples’ Month, but I’m not optimistic.
#1: The more people pretend to be oppressed in 21st-century America, the more they generate outright hostility.
Parker: We are blessed to be Americans and living in America. Sure, our rights are disappearing, a social credit system is looming, and immigrants will get paid half a million dollars for breaking the law, but other than that…life is good? Food, housing, healthcare, travel, modern conveniences, and everything else is available to the poorest of the poor.
And this is just white people.
If you are not white, life is even better. Not only do you get access to the same things as me, but you get the additional cultural power and ready access to a victim card. Basically, you can do whatever you want and be rewarded for it. John Gruden said a few mean things in emails ten years ago and got canned; a black Rutgers professor recently said white people are all the devil and she got high fives. Native people call whites savages for what they did on “their” lands (they say it was theirs even though they also say property rights aren’t a thing – I don’t get it) and receive nods of approval; white people can’t even think of using the word savage lest they get scalped by endless virtue signalers. Illegal immigrants might get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for willingly breaking the law; white people pay higher taxes and have to be vaxxed to participate in society.
If anyone has claim to victim status – actual victim status, mind you – it is white people. When we say this, we are ignored or derided. We have privilege, I am told. We have all of the levers of power in society and in the institutions, I am told. This is news to me.
Blacks, Indigenous, Asians, Mexicans, whatever BIPOC is and whatever Latinx, let alone 2S+LGBTQAI+, so long as they think the right way (looking at you, white face Larry Elder, Uncle Thomas Sowell, invisible Clarence Thomas) they have a carte blanche to eviscerate individuals and communities. They can throw tantrums that end up burning down police stations, courthouses, businesses, homes, and ruin careers for the sin of being white.
Living a lie is one thing. Forcing your lies on me is quite another. When these fools are ready to act like adults, then maybe I will let them rejoin the conversation. Until then, the tantrums continue.
Photo by A.Davey at Flickr.