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 folks 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 dropped at North America.
“We Native folks don’t have any cause to have fun the arrival of the Pilgrims,” mentioned 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 folks 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 folks have actually not lived fortunately ever after for the reason that arrival of the Pilgrims,” James mentioned.
“To us, Thanksgiving is a day of mourning, as a result of we bear in mind the thousands and thousands of our ancestors who had been murdered by uninvited European colonists such because the Pilgrims. In the present day, we and lots of Indigenous folks across the nation say, ‘No Thanks, No Giving.'”
It is the 52nd yr that the United American Indians of New England have organized the occasion on Thanksgiving Day. The custom started in 1970.
Indigenous folks 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 will even livestream the occasion.
Members will beat drums, supply prayers and condemn what organizers describe as “the unjust system primarily based on racism, settler colonialism, sexism, homophobia and the profit-driven destruction of the Earth” earlier than marching via downtown Plymouth’s historic district.
This yr, they’re going to 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 a whole lot 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, mentioned on Boston Public Radio earlier this week that People owe his tribe a debt of gratitude for serving to the Pilgrims survive their first brutal winter.
“Individuals want to grasp that you want to be grateful each day — that was how our ancestors thought and navigated this world,” Weeden mentioned. “As a result of we had been grateful, we had been prepared to share … and we had good intentions and coronary heart.”
That wasn’t reciprocated over the long run, Weeden added.
“That is 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 carry the commonwealth and the federal authorities accountable,” he mentioned.
“As a result of 400 years later, we do not actually have a lot to indicate for, or to be grateful for. So I believe it is essential for everybody to be grateful for our ancestors who helped the Pilgrims survive, and form of performed an intricate position within the delivery of this nation.”