Members of Native American tribes from round New England are gathering within the seaside city the place the Pilgrims settled — to not give thanks, however to mourn Indigenous individuals worldwide who’ve suffered centuries of racism and mistreatment.
Thursday’s solemn Nationwide Day of Mourning observance in downtown Plymouth, Massachusetts, will recall the illness and oppression that European settlers delivered to North America.
“We Native individuals haven’t any motive to have fun the arrival of the Pilgrims,” stated Kisha James, a member of the Aquinnah Wampanoag and Oglala Lakota tribes and the granddaughter of Wamsutta Frank James, the occasion’s founder.
“We wish to educate individuals in order that they perceive the tales all of us discovered at school in regards to the first Thanksgiving are nothing however lies. Wampanoag and different Indigenous individuals have actually not lived fortunately ever after for the reason that arrival of the Pilgrims,” James stated.
“To us, Thanksgiving is a day of mourning, as a result of we bear in mind the thousands and thousands of our ancestors who have been murdered by uninvited European colonists such because the Pilgrims. Right now, we and lots of Indigenous individuals across the nation say, ‘No Thanks, No Giving.’”
It’s the 52nd yr that the United American Indians of New England have organized the occasion on Thanksgiving Day. The custom started in 1970.
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Indigenous individuals and their supporters will collect at midday in particular person on Cole’s Hill, a windswept mound overlooking Plymouth Rock, a memorial to the colonists’ arrival. They may even livestream the occasion.
Individuals will beat drums, supply prayers and condemn what organizers describe as “the unjust system based mostly on racism, settler colonialism, sexism, homophobia and the profit-driven destruction of the Earth” earlier than marching by means of downtown Plymouth’s historic district.
This yr, they’ll additionally spotlight the troubled legacy of federal boarding faculties that sought to assimilate Indigenous youth into white society within the U.S. in addition to in Canada, the place lots of of our bodies have been found on the grounds of former residential faculties for Indigenous youngsters.
Brian Moskwetah Weeden, chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council, stated on Boston Public Radio earlier this week that Individuals owe his tribe a debt of gratitude for serving to the Pilgrims survive their first brutal winter.
“Folks want to know that it is advisable to be grateful each day — that was how our ancestors thought and navigated this world,” Weeden stated. “As a result of we have been grateful, we have been prepared to share … and we had good intentions and an excellent coronary heart.”
That wasn’t reciprocated over the long run, Weeden added.
“That’s why, 400 years later, we’re nonetheless sitting right here preventing for what little little bit of land that we nonetheless have, and making an attempt to carry the commonwealth and the federal authorities accountable,” he stated.
“As a result of 400 years later, we don’t actually have a lot to point out for, or to be grateful for. So I believe it’s necessary for everybody to be grateful for our ancestors who helped the Pilgrims survive, and sort of performed an intricate position within the delivery of this nation.”