Standing Rock is why I don't buy into Thanksgiving jingoism
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Recent events at the Sioux Tribe's Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota remind me just why I don't celebrate Thanksgiving.

Well, I do celebrate Thanksgiving, just not in the traditional American jingoistic way.

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Yes, like most Americans, I spend that holiday with my family and friends, giving thanks to God for their presence while eating great food and watching football until I pass out.

But all of that Pilgrims-and-the-"Indians"-breaking-bread-together-in-the-spirit-of-love stuff?

Well, when I was in the second grade, my mother and father broke down the truth about "Manifest Destiny," a lofty phrase that whitewashes the truth about Europeans taking Native American lands by force, lies and larceny.

I was reminded of those lessons while watching footage of the Sioux Tribe and their supportive protesters at the Standing Rock Reservation being assaulted with water hoses and weapons by law enforcement officers.

The police claim that the Sioux and their supporters are "trespassing," but the problem with that has always been: How do you trespass on your own land?

Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Sioux Tribe, said in an ABC News interview earlier this week that "We live with so many broken promises, there's no reason for it. ... We understand what lands we own, and what lands were illegally taken from us."

Just reading Archambault's words brings me to a palpable sense of anger — the same anger I felt seven years ago when renowned black historian Skip Gates was arrested for allegedly breaking into his own home near the very Harvard University campus where he was a professor.

But this is worse, far worse, because it serves to remind me how much the Sioux and countless other Native tribes have been mistreated time and again by the U.S. government and greedy corporate types who were and remain singularly focused upon procuring pecuniary profits to create wealth for themselves.

Indeed, it is one thing for one to know all of the specifics about the Trail of Tears, the Seminole Wars, the Wounded Knee massacre and "peace treaties" like the Fort Laramie one in 1851 that forms the "legal" bases for the Sioux Tribe's righteous belief that the billion-dollar Dakota Access Pipeline that could contaminate their water while encroaching upon their sacred lands is wrong — but it is something else to see these issues still playing out in 2016.

But just as Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney wrote in the 1857 Dred Scott decision that "the black man has no rights that the white man is bound to respect," the same has always held true with respect to how the rights of Native Americans have been trampled upon by the U.S. government.

Which brings me to one extremely frustrating conclusion, which is that President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaAppeals court overturns decision requiring EPA coal jobs report Obama ethics czar: Trump fundraiser at his DC hotel ‘illegal’ Trump greeted by protesters at campaign fundraiser MORE "could" send troops or federal agents to protect the protesters. The president "could" seek to resolve the pipeline issue between both parties.

But to date, it does not seem that such relief is coming from the first black president, a point that is ironic when consideing that Tuesday marked the 53rd anniversary of President John Kennedy's assassination in Dallas.

Lest we forget that some historians point to Kennedy's dispatching federal troops to protect James Meredith — the first black man to enroll at the University of Mississippi in 1962 — as the source of the strong anti-Kennedy backlash that such made his travel to Texas extremely dangerous.

That President Obama, often seen as the living embodiment of the benefits of the civil rights movement, has not spoken forcefully on behalf of dismantling remaining vestiges of systemic racism that hurts another historically depressed group, is beyond disappointing.

Hobbs is a lawyer and award-winning freelance writer who is a regular contributor to The Hill. Hobbs has been featured in The New York Times and theGrio in addition to numerous regional newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @RealChuckHobbs.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.