Most people around here -- kids and adults -- know that the city of Washington was named for our first president, George Washington.
Fewer know that Virginia was named for the "virgin queen", Elizabeth I of England; that Maryland was named for Queen Henrietta Maria, the wife of King Charles I of England; and that the District of Columbia was named, indirectly, for Christopher Columbus.
And fewer still could tell you that at least 25 of the 50 states trace their names to Native American words, ideas or places.
That's something to think about this Thanksgiving weekend while we, as a nation, commemorate the Pilgrims' settlement of New England.
It's important to remember that European settlers displaced native peoples in the 1700s and 1800s, and that Indians, whose ancestors had lived on the North American continent for centuries, were stripped of their land and largely confined to reservations from coast to coast.
My knowledge on this issue is not the most up-to-date one, mainly because reading about it upsets me to the point that I want to commit horrible acts of violence against all those Bible-toting and other idiots who keep undermining a woman's right to choose.
However, occasionally I come across an enlightened piece of information such as this one, which explains why the right to abortion is a First Amendment (Religious Freedom) issue. Well worth the read! I found this particular Website when googling "keep abortion legal" after I read a deeply unsettling report by Amnesty International about sexual violence against American Indian and Native Alaskan women. I had found the link to this report in a brief article about Pretty Bird Woman House, a shelter for abused women on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation (linked via
If you want to Join Voices with our American Indian and Native American sisters in the fight against violence, click here.