Trigger warning: racism, colonialism, genocide
On last year’s Thanksgiving, A Tribe Called Red came out with this song. The only audible lyrics in it are dialogue pulled from the 1993 movie, “Addams Family Values”. In the hands of the three indigenous DJs that comprise A Tribe Called Red, the skewering of a liberal, false multiculturalism by a White actress in a White director’s film became a vehicle for them to reclaim space in the public consciousness and express their communities’ anger at colonialism.
This year, that tradition has been furthered, with indigenous activists raising their own voices rather than reworking others to express themselves. Earlier this week, Cut, an online video producing group, released one of their word association videos. They have previously created other videos with only indigenous respondents for those when creating a Columbus Day video (in which the prompt was just “Christopher Columbus”).
This holiday’s video followed the same format but had a unique feeling of brutal honesty, as indigenous people spoke very openly about one of the greatest conflicts at the heart of Thanksgiving. All at once it is a modern holiday that even they sometimes participate in, but it is also one founded on a biased if not violently inaccurate understanding of American history. It’s painful to hear how difficult navigating this holiday remains for them and their families, but necessary for all of us who do something for the holiday to remember, particularly on the day of it.