By David GreyOwl
It has been a long time coming, and I believe now is the time to write this blog post. Over the years, I have often wondered, Who remembers us on Memorial Day? Each year, my answer to my own question is always, no one. No one outside of the Native community at large, that is. Natives have had long held traditions of remembering fallen warriors, Veterans, if you will, for their sacrifice for family, tribe and country. Natives who fought for families, homes and ways of life, Natives long gone, and sometimes, most often forgotten by many, are Veterans by rights and by actions. I suggest we create our own Memorial Day remembrances. I suggest we create our own Veterans Day. Yes, we are part of the US, BUT, no one cares to mention the sacrifices made by Native Veterans, who fought and died for the same principles non-native soldiers fought and died for.
Another question that I have always asked myself, and sometimes other Natives is. Why do we have to wait until non-natives give their blessing(s) before we are "allowed" to have our own remembrances and holidays? I believe the time has come to stop "allowing" non-natives to determine what remembrances and holidays we can and should participate in, and enjoy.
It has always been "allowed" and accepted as a practice by this country for other cultures, (mainly cultures of European origins), to celebrate their cultural heritage(s) at their chosen time(s) of the year. Yes, the movement to replace Columbus day is in full swing, as it should be, but look at what it has taken to reach the point the movement has reached. As Native people, we should not have to wage campaigns to be recognized for our accomplishments, past or present.
Native people should take it upon themselves to create our own remembrances and holidays, specific to our cultures. We do not need permission, nor approval from non-natives. Who remembers our Veterans on Memorial Day? We will.