Rolo: Feeling a bit guilty about Thanksgiving

"Every year, I usually try to keep a low profile when Thanksgiving comes around. As an American Indian, one has to be careful about admitting to the guilty pleasures of enjoying a turkey feast.

White liberals are shocked to learn that an Indian could celebrate a holiday that is essentially a funeral for them — "You're commemorating your own cultural death?" White conservatives like to use the holiday to make mention that "Indians are the ones who should be thankful for all we've done to civilize them."

Yes, considering that I spend most of the year thinking and writing about the plight of my Indian people, Thanksgiving is my day of rest. And considering what a lousy cook I am, imagine my delight last year when I discovered "turkey in a bag" for under 20 bucks. It's loaded with seasoning and does its own basting right inside the bag. Just pop it in the oven and in a few hours, juicy turkey is served.

Of course, it's tough to enjoy the bird when you've got white liberal guests reminding you that sports mascots like the Cleveland Indians' Chief Wahoo continue to degrade and dehumanize "your people." And it's even harder to taste the tart canned cranberries when you've got a white conservative telling you to quit the victim game and "learn to pull yourself up by your bootstraps."

My favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is the microwaveable stuffing. Again, no bother with having to add seasoning. But the plight of American Indians intrudes again. "How can you stuff your face knowing full well that the poverty rate on most reservations is among the highest in the country!""

Get the Story:
Mark Anthony Rolo: Thanksgiving is only time whites think about Indian issues (The Arizona Daily Star 11/22)