PLYMOUTH (CBS) – Members of Native American tribes from round New England gathered 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 recalled the illness and oppression that European settlers dropped at North America.
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“We Native individuals don’t have any purpose to rejoice 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 bear in mind the thousands and thousands of our ancestors who have been murdered by uninvited European colonists such because the Pilgrims. At present, 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 gathered at midday in particular person on Cole’s Hill, a windswept mound overlooking Plymouth Rock, a memorial to the colonists’ arrival.
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Contributors beat drums, provided prayers and condemned 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 12 months, additionally they highlighted 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 lots 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 Individuals owe his tribe a debt of gratitude for serving to the Pilgrims survive their first brutal winter.
“Individuals want to grasp that that you must be grateful every 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 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 carry the commonwealth and the federal authorities accountable,” he stated.
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“As a result of 400 years later, we don’t actually have a lot to indicate 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 form of performed an intricate position within the beginning of this nation.”