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News :: Human Rights : Race
Pilgrims, America's early terrorists
27 Nov 2004
In Jabella Iraq yesterday, American and British soldiers fought street-to-street, raiding homes, taking prisoners, and killing Iraqis in a new military offensive dubbed Operation Plymouth Rock.

In Plymouth, at the rock itself, a crowd of close to four hundred Americans gathered beneath gray skies and a light sprinkling rain to commemorate the 35th National Day of Mourning, a tradition that aims to explode the myths that surround Thanksgiving. This year Iraq was held up as the latest example of European American’s continuing manifest destiny.
Occasionally pausing to wipe a drop of rain from his handwritten speech, Tall Oak, an eloquent member of the Wampanoag, Mashantucket Pequot and Narragansett Nations, spoke to the crowd through a portable speaker, with the United States flag draped around his shoulders.

“The hierarchy of hippocracy which elevated the Puritans and the Pilgrims, America’s first terrorists, to the level of some sort of state with power, is the same vein that some Euro-Americans use to be so patriotic and venerate to a ridiculous level the flag which drips with the blood of native people whose freedom was being denied just as their own was being proclaimed.”

“For the native Americans who know their history the flag is the ultimate symbol of true terrorism.”

Native Americans are caught on both sides of the current war, and they have a long tradition of participating as combatants in American conflicts.

“All my mother’s uncles were killed in the Spanish American war,” said Chief Kenny Black Elk of the Blackfoot tribe. “They were given the promise that they would become citizens. But none of them came back… They lied to us to get them to fight in that war then and America lies to [our kids] today to get them to fight in Bush’s war”

Organizer Wampanum James’ son was a member of the 142nd Maintenance Company in Iraq, where he saw the horrors of the war first hand. According to James, most young Native Americans who join up do so for financial reasons.

“The only <A TITLE="Click for more information about job" STYLE="text-decoration: none; border-bottom: medium solid green;" HREF="|1||||job|AA1VDw">job</A>s that are really available are minimum wage and you’re lucky if you can get one of those. So for many people it is nothing more than the economic reality. College educations are costing thousands and thousands of dollars and the government says be all you can be, join the army, we’ll pay for your college. A lot of kids have to buy into that.”

The rally began at the top of Cole’s hill under the statue of Massosoit, the Wampanoag chief who first signed a peace treaty with the colonists in 1621. As is the tradition, a letter from political prisoner Leonard Peltier was read aloud.

“It’s hard to believe another year has gone by.” It began. “If I close my eyes I can see the golden oak leaves of the fall. But all I can see here is the concrete walls and steel doors of the Leavenworth Prison.” The letter touched on the themes of the American holocaust and the generosity built into the Native American tradition. In the traditional Potlatch, outlawed by the U.S. government, Natives would celebrate the day of their birth by giving away all or most of their possessions. Peltier ended the communiqué by expressing the hope that he could be “collecting oak leaves” amongst the crowd at the 36th annual day of mourning.

From the top of the hill, the march proceeded past the touristy shops of Main Street, where aggressive police and peaceful protestors clashed in 1997. As if to remind marchers of past hostilities an old woman hung out of a second story window and yelled to the crowd:

“That was 200 years ago! Let it go!”

In response, someone yelled back, “The occupation never ends!”

From there, the procession wound around to Plymouth Rock for a few speeches, and then up to the church where a commemorative plaque (one of many concessions won from the city as a result of the 1997 riot) marked the spot that once held Metacom’s head. Metacom, son of Massosoit and chief of the Wampanoags, united New England tribes against the colonist’s steady advance on Native lands in what came to be called King Philip’s war (as he was known to the English). One year after the war began, in 1676, Metacom was captured, drawn, quartered and beheaded. His wife and children were sold into slavery and his head delivered to the governor in Plymouth on a pike.

After a short presentation at that spot including introductions to members of Mayan and Inca tribes, people slowly filed into the basement of the local Unitarian Church to consume the traditional feast. The hall was very small but warm and crowded with very good-natured people. The elders, disabled, families with children, and pregnant women were all given the opportunity to eat first, and diners were told to sit with someone you don’t know “so that you might meet someone new.”

Over the course of the day James and other speakers had explained that the 1621 date often given as the first thanksgiving feast is false. The chief of the Wampanoag, Massasoit, signed a treaty with the settlers that year and shared harvest, but the term “Thanksgiving” did not some into fashion until 1637. Governor Winthrop of the Massachusetts Bay colony declared the holiday after the safe return of a party of colonists that had massacred over 700 Pequot Indians near the mouth of the Mystic River. For 100 years the holiday was known in this manner and often used to celebrate subsequent slaughters. Moonanum James cited the famous quote by Malcolm X,

“We did not land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on us.”
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Re: Pilgrims, America's early terrorists
27 Nov 2004
One note of clarification--the 1997 riot Pete refers to was a *police* riot, in which the cops attacked nonviolent protesters. The protesters won the ensuing court case and were given the right to put up the plaque Pete mentions and hold a protest every year as a result.
Re: Pilgrims, America's early terrorists
28 Nov 2004
The intrinsic benefit of preserving the (could/would) be conquered is in preserving oneself. At some point in history because this cycle continues, we will be the conquered, I am sure you agree. However, if the cycle were haulted and if reason, or civility-- or morality or whatever you want ot call it prevailed, there would be no need for conquering because it would be realized that in destroying another life, you are destroying your own. That yes, we are all part of the same ferment so to speak-- and harm to one end, part, way of life of it-- will ultimately come to harm our little portion of it. You have a selective view of history my friend that quite betrays your obvious intellect. It is one thing to see that history shows a past of annihilation as you posit-- however, you do ignore the more peacful strides, however small they may be in comparison to the advances of nations through war, that nations and people have made through peace. I suppose the argument is actually endless-- but you should at least consider there are other interpretations/ways for people to conduct themselves instead of seemingly and blindly accepting your alternative fate.
Re: Pilgrims, America's early terrorists
29 Nov 2004
Thanksgiving is a secular fable that has evolved over the past 384 years. Here are some of the highlights:

1620--The Mayflower lands near what is now Provincetown on the tip of Cape Cod. The Pilgrims raid Indian burial grounds where winter provisions are stored. Eleven days later, they disembark in Plymouth. More than half of the original 100 settlers perish over the winter.

1621--Local Wampanoag Indians take pity on the Pilgrims and teach them how to survive in their new environment. Chief Massasoit and 90 Indian warriors attend an end-of-harvest feast in the autumn of 1621. No mention is made in the Pilgrims’ records of celebrating a day of thanksgiving.

1637—English and Dutch militia massacre 700 Pequot Indians who have gathered to celebrate the annual Green Corn dance near the mouth of the Mystic River in what is now Connecticut. Massachusetts Gov. William Bradford calls for America’s first official day of Thanksgiving to celebrate the victory.

1676—Metacom, son of Massasoit, is captured and executed after leading a failed rebellion against English settlers. Metacom’s severed head is left on a pike in the middle of Plymouth for over 20 years.

1863—During the darkest days of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln declares the final Thursday in November to be a day of thanksgiving. Lincoln’s proclamation was a triumph for Sarah Hale, who had doggedly campaigned for the holiday for nearly four decades. Hale, editor of a popular ladies journal, was also the author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”.

Nov. 1864—On the first anniversary of the new Thanksgiving holiday, 150 Cheyenne Indians are massacred at Sand Creek in southeastern Colorado by the Colorado Volunteers. The victims are mostly women, children and the elderly. The victorious soldiers scalp all the dead bodies and cut off women's genitals to decorate their hats and saddle horns.

1890—300 half-starved Lakota Indians are massacred at Wounded Knee, South Dakota after leaving the reservation in the middle of the winter. This marked the end of more than 250 years of warfare between the United States and its native peoples.

1914—Jennie Brownscombe’s idealized painting of the First Thanksgiving becomes a symbol of the holiday for many Americans. It reached a wide audience and influenced the national understanding when it was later printed in Life magazine.

1939—President Franklin Roosevelt moves Thanksgiving up to the fourth Thursday in November to add more time to the Christmas shopping season.

1970—Hundreds of American Indian activists upstage the 350th anniversary celebration of the landing of the pilgrims by taking over a replica of the Mayflower and by shoveling dirt over Plymouth Rock. National Day of Mourning protests have been held in Plymouth on Thanksgiving every year since.

1997—Police use pepper spray and tear gas to assault National Day of Mourning protesters. Twenty-five people are arrested. In a subsequent court settlement, the town of Plymouth agrees to allow future Thanksgiving protesters to march without a permit as long as they notify the town in advance of their parade route.

2004-About 300 protesters rally in Plymouth to commemorate the annual National Day of Mourning in Plymouth while thousands of U.S. Marines lcarry out a new offensive in southern Iraq called Operation Plymouth Rock.
Re: Pilgrims, America's early terrorists
29 Nov 2004
Just to say "killing happens, that's the way it is, let's ride the wave of destruction while were on top" is defeatist. It is the weak man or woman who follows the leaders in this line of thinking.

The real challenge of these times and any time in history is to solve the riddle of the collective, to create a dominant paradigm based on individual merit instead of a hierarchy based on legacies of brutality.

Killing and brutality of any kind is the stupid answer to any question, the difficult and superior path is to find solutions that give benefits to all and injustice to no one party more than another.

As long as we continue to kill each other andour environment every time we are challenged with a difficult problem we are doomed to extinction.
Re: Pilgrims, America's early terrorists
29 Nov 2004
Its really too bad that the supposed original thanksgiving wasn't exactly what it is supposed to be representing. I certainly feel bad for alot of what has happened. The ones guys comment, about the occupation never ending is in a way true, I suppose. I guess they were invaded, and in a way were are holding occupation of their land. But, on the other hand, people born to that counry or people that immigrate to it have just as much right to be there now, they have no reason to leave. To kick them out might seem right to the Natives, but really, it would be the same thing as kicking them off their lands, which I am certain they feel is unfair. We are all just living out such a brief time on this earth, and to hold people accountable for what they have no control over, such as the actions of their ancestors is pointless, and unfair. Really we should all just try to learn what we can from what has happened and deal with where we are now, rather than trying to compensate for things that happened a long time ago, since they would be more or less impossible to fix them now.
Re: Pilgrims, America's early terrorists
29 Nov 2004
I thought the Pilgrims were escaping religious intolerance. Long before Europeans arrived the American Indians were involved in internecine war fare and "terrorism" among themselves and black Africans were practicing a thriving slave trade. The Europeans had superior technology so they ended intertribal war among the Indians, something pacifists should welcome. The Europeans eventually ended the slave trade and fought a civil war to do so, after black Africans has been practicing it for untold centuries and had no moral desire to end it.
Re: Pilgrims, America's early terrorists
30 Nov 2004
The Pilgrims--properly known as the Separatists (they wanted to separate from the official Church of England)--were indeed fleeing religious intolerance. Unfortunately, as so often happens in human history, the persecuted did not learn from their own experiences and became persecutors in their turn, attacking those in their own community who had dissident religious views, as well as all "heathens"--that is the Indians already living in North America when they landed there.

Some Indians were certainly engaging in warfare with each other when Europeans landed--but some tribes were quite peaceable. It is grossly intellectually irresponsible to make the sort of generalizations you were making, "Traditionalist", that all Indians were warlike. As for the idea that the Europeans brought peace to the Indians--it was the peace of the graveyard, peace through the extermination (genocide) of Native Americans. While many tribes fought wars with each other, these wars were usually small-scale and involved relatively few casualties; Indians had their own rules of warfare, although we might find some of these rules disturbing as they were quite different from our current, European ones (which we all too often ignore in practice anyways). When Europeans colonists, on the other hand, fought wars with the Indians, they did not inflict low casualties--they usually fought to exterminate the tribes, viewing them as subhuman and rationalizing their genocide on the grounds that these lesser peoples were doomed to fade away in any case. The "humanitarians" among the European colonists and their descedants proposed merely to abolish the Indians' culture and force them to live like whites, assuming there was nothing to be gained by intercultural dialogue.

As for slavery, yes, it existed in Africa and other places for centuries before the trans-Atlanatic slave trade began, and it certainly was a cruel institution in those African socieites that practiced it. Europeans took it to a new extreme though. In most African tribes, slaves actually had some rights (though certainly not those of a full member of the tribe), whereas Africans (and Native Americans) enslaved by Europeans had no rights at all. Europeans also took the slave trade to a whole new level--to such a level, that it devastated entire societies on the west coast of Africa. Many scholars argue that the aftermath of this social destruction, compounded with later colonial conquest, is one of the main reasons that the sub-Saharran Africa is such a mess today--centuries later, African societies have not recovered from the trans-Atlantic slave trade. And, yes, slavery was eventually abolished, in part through the efforts of Anglo-Americans inspired by the better aspects of Europe's heritage, but the initial push actually came from free blacks. In the meantime, whites had made the slave trade worse than it ever was.
Re: Pilgrims, America's early terrorists
10 Dec 2004
you forgot the best part of the protest. It was when the man with the amerikan flag draped over his back said that the Mayan calendar predicts that this brutal sickness of Europe visited on these lands will collapse in 2012.

Are the Mayan calendar makers correct? Will Uncle Sam burn himself out once and for all and bring this ecocidal genocidal settler society from Europe down once and for all? Time will tell...
Did they address Incan and Mayan facism?
14 Dec 2004
How simplistic to think that the Pilgrims were all bad and the Mayans/Incans were all good.

There were very many different societies in the Western Hemisphere at the time of European incursion. They were not all one group and one culture.

The Pilgrims were not all evil and bad, and the Incans and Mayans were not all good.

The Incans and Mayans were both warrior thugs groups who went out and conquored all of the other groups around them. History is too complex for people to have a 'all Indians were always good and virtuous' and 'all whites were always evil' point of view.

After 4 hundred years if we can't see this point of view, then we have not learned and grown.

If anyone thinks that there will be some magic thing happening in 2012 that will wipe out all Whites, then will it also wipe out all of the Indians that are part European who now run all of these very lucrative Casinos through out the United States?

There are good people and bad people in all groups. Pilgrims were not terrorists. That is just a lie.
Re: Did they address Incan and Mayan facism?
14 Dec 2004
Whether this incident ever even happened or not your post is a real stretch. First off, the man that was alleged to have made the statement about the Mayan calendar never really claimed any actual allegiance to the Mayans but even if he had, if he even existed he was obviously not representative of the majority of people there. Of course that didn't matter to you because what the post provided you was a window to voice your viewpoint which has nothing to do with Pete's article. Though it's nice how you blurred that line and threw it all together, Hannity and Limbaugh would be proud. Now all that said, if you're argument was a logical response to what has been written it's still a a big stretch. Nobody claimed all the Pilgrim's were bad or that all the Indian's were good. Though if someone did you would have had a point. Nonetheless by stating that you were then able to give the notion that both sides were bad even-handedly, a view reminiscent of message sent by "Disney's Pocohontas". The fact is that regardless of what the Mayans and the Incas did they never committed genocide against natives in a European country they decided to occupy. More importantly neither did any other U.S. tribe. There isn't any town in this state or anywhere else that commemorates the Native who came up with idea to deliberately offer infected blankets to Europeans to spread small-pox throughout the population efficted neautralizing their "sub-human" threat. Though man that Amherst is named after bio-terrorist contribution to the colonial cause is commemorated. Not to mention there's no long weekend I know of that honors any Natives who expanded their Empire by taking over European islands unleashing a whirlwind of slavery, mass-murder, and rape. And I know for a fact that there isn't any U.S. currency that features a picture of the Native architect of a policy that enacted the brutal mass removal and extermination of huge population Europeans like what happened during the Trail of Tears. Though I'm sure all the other great stuff Jackson did makes up for that black mark on his record so his picture is justly featured on the $20 dollar bill. It's great that you mentioned the casioes which as you correctly stated are often run by non-fullblooded Natives and make far more money for large corporations and the Mafia than what gets to the Reservations. In the end the Indigenous descendents might as well cash in on the desecration and marginalization of their cartoonish culture and forget about all the blood spilled in the past. I mean they wouldn't want to sound hypocritical, right? Have they forgotten about the Mayans in Mexico? Why not just suck it up and instead of causing an unpatriotic fuss they should instead celebrate the key moments and figures in history that lead to the atrocities experienced by their past relatives. Like another famous American President who's also commemorated in a pretty big way, that being Teddy Roosevelt "They only good Indian is a dead Indian."
10 Jun 2006
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Re: Pilgrims, America's early terrorists
13 Nov 2014
A bunch of children in the Fort Worth school system are now being taught this garbage. Thanks a lot, jackass. You're one of the many people that are going to be responsible for America's fall very soon.
Re: Pilgrims, America's early terrorists
13 Nov 2014
A bunch of children in the Fort Worth school system are now being taught this garbage. Thanks a lot, jackass. You're one of the many people that are going to be responsible for America's fall very soon.