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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