Members of Native American tribes from across New England are coming together in the seaside town where the Pilgrims sustained, not for Thanksgiving but to agonize Indigenous people across the world who went through racism and ill-treatment for centuries.
Critical National Day of Mourning on Thursday seen in downtown Plymouth, Massachusetts, will recount the disease and brutality which they note that European settlers were responsible for bringing to North America.
“Thanksgiving Is a Day of Mourning” – Kisha James
Kisha James, a member of the Aquinnah Wampanoag and Oglala Lakota tribes and the granddaughter of Wamsutta Frank James, the event’s founder said “We Native people have no reason to celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims.”
Adding further “We want to educate people so that they understand the stories we all learned in school about the first Thanksgiving are nothing but lies. Wampanoag and other Indigenous people have certainly not lived happily ever after since the arrival of the Pilgrims.”
He continued to say “To us, Thanksgiving is a day of mourning, because we remember the millions of our ancestors who were murdered by uninvited European colonists such as the Pilgrims. Today, we and many Indigenous people around the country say, ‘No Thanks, No Giving.”
The tradition started and continues since 1970 and now it’s the 52nd year when the United American Indians of New England have executed the event on Thanksgiving Day.
The story shows up since several colleges’ student and alumni groups around the nation stimulated students to consider Thanksgiving as a day of reminiscence for Native Americans along with the George Washington University Student Association that sent an email to students on Monday writing that “Thanksgiving day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native people.”
The email also mentioned, “Although we recognize the importance of giving thanks and spending time with family and friends, we must also recognize that Thanksgiving for many in our community is a day of mourning.”
Taking part with the students from George Washington University were the alumni associations of the University of Maryland, Washington State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Hiram College in Ohio, and California State University, Long Beach, who took part in an event asking if Americans have to “reconsider” the holiday on Thanksgiving.
The event briefly states “Starting in 1970, many Americans, led by Indigenous protesters, believed that Thanksgiving should be rededicated as a National Day of Mourning to reflect the centuries-long displacement and persecution of Native Americans.
The recent shift from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day reflects a changing national mood,” adding further “Should Americans reconsider Thanksgiving when wrestling with our country’s complicated past?”
The Event Will Be Live-streamed
Indigenous people and their followers accumulated at noon personally on Cole’s Hill, a windswept mound overpassing Plymouth Rock, a remembrance to the colonists’ accession also the event will be live-streamed by them.
People who joined the event played drums, recited prayers, and censured what organizers explained as “the unjust system based on racism, settler colonialism, sexism, homophobia and the profit-driven destruction of the Earth” before the march from downtown Plymouth’s historic district.
This year, they pointed out the concerned legacy of federal boarding schools that aimed to appreciate Indigenous youth in the White society in the United States and Canada as well, where reportedly multiple bodies were found on the floor of precedent suburban schools for Indigenous kids.
Americans Owe His Tribe a Debt of Gratitude- Weeden
Last week, the chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council, Brian Moskwetah Weeden stated on Boston Public Radio that for helping the Pilgrims to endure their first cruel winter, Americans owe his tribe a debt of gratitude.
Weeden said “People need to understand that you need to be thankful every day — that was how our ancestors thought and navigated this world,” adding “Because we were thankful, we were willing to share … and we had good intentions and a good heart.” That hasn’t corresponded across a long time, he said.
He then continued “That’s why, 400 years later, we’re still sitting here fighting for what little bit of land that we still have, and trying to hold the commonwealth and the federal government accountable,” adding “Because 400 years later, we don’t have much to show for or to be thankful for.
So, I think it’s important for everyone to be thankful for our ancestors who helped the Pilgrims survive, and kind of played an intricate role in the birth of this nation.”