Native Americans mourn Thanksgiving: ‘There is no reason to celebrate’

Members of Native American tribes from all over New Britain They gather in the coastal city where the pilgrims settled – no thanks, but mourning indigenous peoples around the world who have suffered centuries of racism and abuse.

The official Thursday to celebrate the National Day of Mourning in downtown Plymouth, Massachusetts, He will mention disease and oppression They say European settlers were brought to North America.

“We Aboriginal people have no reason to celebrate the arrival of the pilgrims,” said Keisha James, a member of the Aquina Wampanoag and Uglala Lakota tribes and granddaughter of Wamsutta Frank James, the event’s founder.

Native American supporters stop after prayers during the 38th National Day of Mourning in Coles Hill in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on November 22, 2007. Denouncing centuries of racism and mistreatment of Native Americans, members of Native American tribes from across New England will gather at Thanksgiving 2021 to celebrate National Day of Mourning.

Native American supporters stop after prayers during the 38th National Day of Mourning in Coles Hill in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on November 22, 2007. Denouncing centuries of racism and mistreatment of Native Americans, members of Native American tribes from across New England will gather at Thanksgiving 2021 to celebrate National Day of Mourning.
((AP Photo/Lisa Poole, file))

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“We want to educate people so that they understand the stories we all learned in school about the first Thanksgiving are just lies,” James said. “The Wampanoag and other Aboriginal people have certainly not lived happily ever after the Pilgrims arrived.”

“Thanksgiving for us is a day of mourning, because we remember the millions of our ancestors who were killed by uninvited European colonizers like the Pilgrims. Today, we and many indigenous peoples across the country say, ‘No thanks, no giving.'”

It is the fifty-second year that the United American Indians of New England have organized the event on Thanksgiving Day. The tradition began in 1970.

The story comes in the form of multiple student and alumni groups across the country Encourage students to treat Thanksgiving as a day to remember For Native Americans, the George Washington University Student Union emailed students Monday that “Thanksgiving is a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native Americans.”

“Although we understand the importance of giving thanks and spending time with family and friends, we must also be aware that Thanksgiving for many in our community is a day of mourning,” the email stated.

George Washington University Alumni Associations Join George Washington University Students University of MarylandAnd Florida Gulf Coast UniversityAnd Washington State UniversityAnd Hiram College in Ohio and California State University, Long Beach, who took part in an event asking if Americans should “reconsider” the Thanksgiving holiday.

“Beginning in 1970, many Americans, led by indigenous protesters, believed that Thanksgiving should be rededicated as a national day of mourning to reflect the centuries-old displacement and persecution of Native Americans. The recent shift from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day reflects the changing national mood” As stated in the description of the event. Should Americans reconsider Thanksgiving as they grapple with our country’s complex past?

Aboriginal people and their supporters gathered in person on Coles Hill, a windswept hill overlooking Plymouth Rock, a monument to the arrival of the colonists. them too Live broadcast the event.

Participants beat drums, offered prayers and denounced what organizers described as “an unjust system based on racism, settler colonialism, sexism, homophobia and land destruction for profit” before marching through the historic downtown area of ​​Plymouth.

  Demonstrators hold a large plaque of imprisoned American Indian Leonard Peltier during a march to mark National Day of Mourning in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on November 22, 2001. Denouncing centuries of racism and mistreatment of Native Americans, members of Native American tribes from across New England will gather for Thanksgiving 2021 to celebrate the day National mourning.

Demonstrators hold a large plaque of imprisoned American Indian Leonard Peltier during a march to mark National Day of Mourning in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on November 22, 2001. Denouncing centuries of racism and mistreatment of Native Americans, members of Native American tribes from across New England will gather for Thanksgiving 2021 to celebrate the day National mourning.
((AP Photo/Steven Senne, file))

This year, they highlighted the troubled legacy of federal boarding schools that have sought to accommodate Aboriginal youth in the white community in the United States as well as in Canada, where Reportedly, hundreds of bodies have been found On the territory of former boarding schools for indigenous children.

The Americans owe his tribe a debt of gratitude for helping the pilgrims survive their first harsh winter, Brian Mosquita Weeden, president of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council, said on Boston Public Radio earlier this week.

“People should understand that you need to be thankful every day — this was the way our ancestors thought and navigated this world,” Weeden said. “Because we were thankful, we were willing to share…and we had good intentions and a kind heart.”

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Weeden added that this was not a long-term reciprocity.

Command Sgt.  Major Veronica Harvey, Chief Adviser Designated Support Operations for the 3rd Division's Support Brigade, lays a few pieces of turkey on a panel of U.S. Army soldiers at a dining facility at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, November 25.  Command teams through Camp Arifjan serve soldiers at Thanksgiving to express appreciation during the holidays.  (US Army photo by Sergeant Marquis Hopkins)

Command Sgt. Major Veronica Harvey, Chief Adviser Designated Support Operations for the 3rd Division’s Support Brigade, lays a few pieces of turkey on a panel of U.S. Army soldiers at a dining facility at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, November 25. Command teams through Camp Arifjan serve soldiers at Thanksgiving to express appreciation during the holidays. (US Army photo by Sergeant Marquis Hopkins)
(U.S. military)

“That’s why, 400 years later, we’re still fighting here for the little land we still have, trying to hold the Commonwealth and the federal government to account,” he said.

“Because after 400 years we don’t have much to show or thank. So I think it’s important for everyone to be thankful for our ancestors who helped the pilgrims survive, and kind of played a complicated role in the birth of this nation.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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