A Poem for Native American Heritage Day

Flowers For Socrates

The Friday after Thanksgiving has been designated as Native American Heritage Day in the U.S. since 2008, but some Native Americans feel the day is a poor choice, since it coincides with the aggressive capitalism and greed of ‘Black Friday,’ annual opening day of the Christmas shopping frenzy. Thanksgiving itself is viewed by some as a “day of mourning”  as it celebrates the survival of the Pilgrims, part of the first wave of colonialists to arrive in North America, which would so drastically wipe out millions of the First Peoples, and end forever the way of life of the survivors.

Joy Harjo (1952 – ) is a poet, musician, author, activist and teacher, and the current U.S. Poet Laureate. Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, she is member of the Mvskoke tribe, and a highly influential figure in the second wave of the artistic Native American Renaissance. She studied at the Institute of American Indian…

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