My dear one Native American friend (Charly),
I was watching Addams Family Values the other night, and got to the part – I’m certain you remember it – where a young Christina Ricci acts in Christine Baranski and Peter McNicol’s mid-July Thanksgiving play (apparently, Camp Chippewa follows the Greek Orthodox calendar), and, as the scene progressed, I began to think how amazing it must be to have a young Ms. Ricci perform, on your peoples’ behalf, an improvisation within a play within a movie, where she so adeptly captures your socio-cultural history as it pertains to the spitroasting of Pilgrims – “Pilgrim,” as you’re well aware, being ancient Cherokee for “the other other white meat” – on an open flame! Not since the Village People pranced around on stage has there been such a Culturally Relevant moment for the Native Americans! What memories you must have had! How proud you must have been!
But then, I started thinking. Christina Ricci’s done her part for Native American culture…. What have I ever done to show my Pocahontas, Rachel, just how much she, as a representative of her people, means to me?
I searched my memory, and was mortified to discover that over the years, I’d never sent my one Native American friend a note or a card or even a small box of Ferrero Rocher, the fine hazelnut chocolates, to express my thanks! There was that one time I tried to give you those Mardi Gras beads in exchange for your apartment on St. Paul Street, but, judging from your reaction, my gift/legally-binding-estoppel-necklaces didn’t go over too well. (I count myself lucky that I didn’t end up on Ms. Ricci’s Spitroast-of-Cultural-Awareness!) But can you really blame me? The necklaces were so shiny, Rachel. Shiny! I thought you’d learn to love them as much as I loved that apartment of yours. It had such wonderful dormer windows! One hardly ever found apartments in Baltimore with such wonderful dormer windows – and two full bathrooms, and a kitchen with a dishwasher to boot!
But I digress. With Thanksgiving round the corner, I wanted to send you a small token of gratitude. Thus, I went to the fanciest store I could think of named CVS with the sole purpose of finding the most expensive gift under $14.99 that would show you exactly how I feel. The Hallmark aisle wasn’t all that helpful. “We couldn’t have done it without you!” seemed a bit too obvious (we couldn’t have!) whereas the Quinciniera cards looked really, really cultural, but didn’t have any wigwams or tomahawks or feathers or your beloved Spitroasts-of-Cultural-Awareness, so I thought the message might get lost. Needless to say, I came out empty handed (save for the Diet Cherry 7-Up and pack of Twizzler’s I bought for my own consumption, but they have nothing to do with the letter at hand, so I’ll leave it at that).
So, instead of buying you an actual present, I thought I’d take some time, on this Thanksgiving, to show how much I love you/all of your land. I figured I’d do this by sending a beautiful picture of you (into which I’ve photoshopped some added Cultural Relevance) accompanied by a nice little heartfelt “Thank you!” I’ll try not to be too gushy. Here goes:
Thank you so, so, so, so, so, so much! This land, it’s… well… simply amazing! I can’t even begin to express how much it means to us! And there’s so very, very much of it! Look! I’m running, jumping, spinnnnnning, that’s how much of it there is! And please know that we really wish we could give some of it back. Turns out that we sold most of the excess to Ted Turner…. But don’t worry! If there’s one thing to say about lonely eccentric white billionaires of questionable sanity who have too much time on their hands, oodles of land, and the resources – both scientific and financial – of cloning Mastodons, it’s that we’ve got nothing to worry about! (Though I’ve taken the added precaution of inserting a prayer into our Thanksgiving liturgy for Jane Fonda’s speedy return.)
In the meantime, have a Happy Thanksgiving!! Oooh, and almost forgot the Culturally Relevant photo:
Achi gachi goo, and many, many thanks,