Commentary: Native American Writer On Support Of Standing Rock Native American writer Tanaya Winder has been thinking about the Thanksgiving story of Pilgrims and Indians, especially as the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in North Dakota continue.
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Commentary: Native American Writer On Support Of Standing Rock

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Commentary: Native American Writer On Support Of Standing Rock

Commentary: Native American Writer On Support Of Standing Rock

Commentary: Native American Writer On Support Of Standing Rock

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Native American writer Tanaya Winder has been thinking about the Thanksgiving story of Pilgrims and Indians, especially as the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in North Dakota continue.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

This Thanksgiving, protesters are still camped out in North Dakota just a few miles from the Standing Rock Reservation. Demonstrations against the Dakota Access Pipeline have been going on for months. Tanaya Winder has been to Standing Rock and supports the protests. She's a member of the Duckwater Shoshone Tribe, and she's also a poet and storyteller. We caught up with her earlier today while she was traveling to Nevada to be with her family this Thanksgiving Day. And we asked her to tell us what's been on her mind.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

TANAYA WINDER: The story that I was told in school just about the Pilgrims and the Indians coming together to celebrate, even though I didn't really know the history then because I was too young, just something about it just didn't feel right. It's almost like a make-believe story wrapped in a pretty bow.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WINDER: Granted, like, as children, maybe one doesn't want to tell the entire story just because of the harsh realities and that systemic violence, but part of indigenous history includes Native Americans being forcibly removed to reservations, and from then a lot of children were taken. My grandmother was taken to a boarding school in Nevada - Stewart Indian School. You know, as a child, I can't imagine what it was like to have been taken from a home, so I'm always thinking about those things on this day when I'm heading to spend time with my family and my cousins and my younger relatives as well.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WINDER: As what's happening with Standing Rock now, it's been in the hearts and on minds of indigenous people throughout the country since the beginning when it first started. And it's something that - to think, like, is this really happening, you know? And I see people who are non-native, white people, in these, like, police uniforms with their, like, guns and weapons and shooting rubber bullets and shooting projectiles at people. That's the dark side. That's the opposite of what days like today are supposed to stand for.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WINDER: I'm always the kind of person who tries to find the silver lining. I'm trying to think about, like, the love that's shown now at Standing Rock. There are allies there who are helping, and that to me is something, like, to be thankful for.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WINDER: On Thanksgiving, we're given this cookie cutter model of what an Indian is and what it should mean. And people are OK with sitting down at their tables with that narrative and then not really wanting to believe the truth of what's happening to Native Americans in real life today.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SHAPIRO: That's Tanaya Winder of the Duckwater Shoshone Tribe with her observations on this Thanksgiving Day.

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