Thanksgiving Day protest at Wilbur County Courthouse

by Susie Applegate
    About a half dozen protesters showed up Thanksgiving morning to speak out against “the cover-up of terrible crimes committed against the first people of this land,” according to Willie Walkingstick, who is Chair of the Wilbur County American Indian Movement.
    Walkingstick claims to be a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, which, unlike their Wilbur County namesake, as he was quick to point out, is one of three federally-recognized Cherokee tribes.
    The early Thanksgiving celebrations, according to Walkingstick, “were used to lull the unsuspecting natives into a false sense of peace,” so the settlers could steal their land.
    “Nonsense,” said by-stander Arlen Johanssen. “the Indians were pillaging and raping long before the white people arrived from Europe. These kids need to study their history.”
    Walkingstick disputes that. “I have a B.A. in history,” he said, “and Native American studies was my concentration. Of course we had warfare before the whites came, and even a type of slavery, but the destruction was nowhere on the scale of that among the Europeans, who were killing each other by the millions.”
    “Why is it,” continued Walkingstick, “that when thousands of white men march to war in uniform, we call it ‘civilization,’ and when a few dozen natives attack an enemy tribe, we call it ‘savagery?’ It’s all the same to me. War is war. Theft is theft.”

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