PJ Vegas is a singer, rapper, songwriter and producer from Los Angeles, CA and of Yoeme (Yaqui) heritage. He won a 2017 MTV VMA award for Best Video with a Message and was awarded a 2018 Native American Music Award for Best Independent Single. His father Pat Vegas is the bassist, guitarist and vocalist of Redbone, whose 1974 hit “Come and Get Your Love” was the first track by an indigenous group to break the Billboard Top 10. Below is his short essay, “What It Means To Be Indigenous on Thanksgiving since 1621”:
What it means to be indigenous on Thanksgiving since 1621
Since as far back as I can remember I’ve always known the truth…… thanksgiving is a lie.
To us as natives/indigenous peoples Thanksgiving is a unpleasant reminder of the genocide millions of our people endured during first contact with colonization seven generations ago. This is our day of mourning!
The colonial mindset almost spread faster than the smallpox did. With false narrative after false narrative being integrated into what we call “American history” we still somehow managed to emerge from the smoke, and reclaim our identity in the face of adversity.
Now we’re here!
Alive and thriving in 2020 and the real story is being served up with a side of Gravy for all who turn a blind eye to genocide. We stand on the truth of our ancestors not the lies of a Colonizer.
All in all enjoy your meal celebrate with your family but give thanks and remember
“The truth is out there if you’re willing to listen”.
(Thank you in Yoeme language)
Support PJ Vegas and other Indigenous artists by listening to this spotify playlist crafted by PJ Vegas, himself: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5kJFJDorfH03Lw927kfHa7?si=VO1838TlS5awWkxYOCQHvA