By WILLIAM J. KOLE, Associated Press
Members of Native American tribes from round New England are gathering within the seaside city the place the Pilgrims settled — not to give thanks, however to mourn Indigenous individuals worldwide who’ve suffered centuries of racism and mistreatment.
Thursday’s solemn National Day of Mourning observance in downtown Plymouth, Massachusetts, will recall the illness and oppression that European settlers introduced to North America.
“We Native individuals haven’t any cause 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 need to educate individuals in order that they perceive the tales all of us realized in class concerning the first Thanksgiving are nothing however lies. Wampanoag and different Indigenous individuals have definitely not lived fortunately ever after because the arrival of the Pilgrims,” James stated.
“To us, Thanksgiving is a day of mourning, as a result of we keep in mind the thousands and thousands of our ancestors who have been murdered by uninvited European colonists such because the Pilgrims. Today, we and plenty of Indigenous individuals across the nation say, ‘No Thanks, No Giving.’”
It’s the 52nd 12 months that the United American Indians of New England have organized the occasion on Thanksgiving Day. The custom started in 1970.
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.
Participants 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 way of downtown Plymouth’s historic district.
This 12 months, they will additionally spotlight the troubled legacy of federal boarding colleges that sought to assimilate Indigenous youth into white society within the U.S. in addition to in Canada, the place tons of of our bodies have been found on the grounds of former residential colleges for Indigenous kids.
Brian Moskwetah Weeden, chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council, stated on Boston Public Radio earlier this week that Americans owe his tribe a debt of gratitude for serving to the Pilgrims survive their first brutal winter.
“People want to perceive that you simply want to be grateful each day — that was how our ancestors thought and navigated this world,” Weeden stated. “Because we have been grateful, we have been keen to share … and we had good intentions and a very good coronary heart.”
That wasn’t reciprocated over the long run, Weeden added.
“That’s why, 400 years later, we’re nonetheless sitting right here combating for what little little bit of land that we nonetheless have, and making an attempt to maintain the commonwealth and the federal authorities accountable,” he stated.
“Because 400 years later, we don’t actually have a lot to present for, or to be pleased about. So I believe it’s vital for everybody to be pleased about our ancestors who helped the Pilgrims survive, and type of performed an intricate position within the beginning of this nation.”
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