As Thanksgiving approaches: we most likely think turkey, football, family, and Plymouth Rock. But for some Americans, this holiday brings up dark thoughts and twisted history.
“Because they became distance from the Great Spirit, I believe that the Europeans had this bottomless want and those were the kinds of people who came over here and killed men, women, and children," said Chance Landry, the founder, curator and director of the Southern Apache Museum.
The warm and fuzzy Thanksgiving story of Pilgrims and Native people holding hands and singing around a cornucopia isn’t exactly how things went down. One theory of the first official Thanksgiving feast is thought to be a celebration of a massacre of 700 citizens of the Pequot tribe by Dutch and English soldiers.
The Europeans burned, butchered and stabbed the Pequots while having a religious ceremony, then kicked their decapitated heads down the street like it was a game. The governor declared what happened a day of extermination and a day of "Thanksgiving." This is just one of many stories of settlers mutilating the local tribes.
“They’re still doing it today. Look at that pipeline. They’re bringing it down. They don’t care who it harms. They don’t care about anyone but themselves, as long as they get what they want," Landry said.
As the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and allies peacefully pray and protest against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), police fire rubber bullets, shoot mace and blast water cannons in the freezing temperatures.
Upwards of 300 suffered injuries, including hypothermia, by officers this week.
One of which was Sophia Wilansky, whose arm was shredded into pieces by a Concussion grenade and could potentially need an amputation.
“We need to fight for the sacred land. Just as much as they want that money, that’s how much we want our water ways to be clean. We want our lands to be left alone," Landry said.
If completed, the $3.8 billion pipeline would stretch nearly 1,200 miles and carry half a million barrels of crude oil per day from North Dakota to Illinois. Those who support it feel that this will give the U.S. a huge economic boost by creating jobs and reducing our dependency on foreign oil.
Newsfix reached out to Energy Transfer Partners, the company overseeing the pipeline, and they declined a statement.
Still, over 100 tribes continue to resist and protests have popped up in over 300 cities, believing that the pipeline will destroy the native people’s water supply and sustainable ways of life.
“While everyone is sitting in their warm little houses eating Thanksgiving dinner, they need to say a prayer for the people up there. Those people, their ancestors helped the immigrants come to this land, but nobody is helping them," Landry said.