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News :: Human Rights
39th National Day of Mourning
by Chuck U. Rosina
Email: chuckbla3 (nospam) yahoo.com
29 Nov 2008
United American Indians of New England gathered at Cole's Hill in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on Thanksgiving day to speak truth to the myths. About 150 people marched through the streets of Plymouth on Thanksgiving afternoon. There were not there to celebrate the myth of what is taught about the Pilgrims arriving here almost 400 years ago, but rather they want the truth of that time to be told, Native American heritage recognized, and they called for political prisoner, Leonard Peltier to be released. The Wampanoag were the first natives to greet Pilgrims.
Before the boisterous march, they gathered on Cole’s Hill, overlooking Plymouth Rock, for a somber ceremony, known as the National Day of Mourning. This was the 39th consecutive year Native Americans and their supporters gathered here for this observance. It began with a spiritual tribute to the 4 directions and all the ancestors that came before. The organizers respectfully requested that this native tradition not be recorded in any form.
Afterwards, they gathered at a small stage a few yards away for a more public event. Munanum James, a Wampanoag with United American Indians of New England greeted his supporters.
Juan Gonzalez was next to speak. He is a Mayan from Guatemala. He read the words of one of his elders, a woman named
Awella Honna Perchay-ko
Burt Waters is a native from Cape Cod. He read a letter written by Leonard Peltier specifically for the gathering at the Day of Mourning.
Some recorded native music was then played, as organizers raised funds for supporting the release of Leonard Peltier.
There was much hope in the air this year, with the election of Barak Obama.
Elaina Ortiz, a Native from the southwest USA, was among those to speak of this.
After the speeches, the crowd marched through the streets of Plymouth, chanting for the release of Peltier.
As the crowd marched up to Plymouth Rock, they stopped. Munomum James addressed them from the back of a pick-up truck.
A well-known political activist from Boston, Sergio Reyes, who was a political prisoner in Chile under Pinochet, explained why he was there.
Daniel is a Mayan from El Salvador. This was his first Day of Mourning. He was glad to share his thoughts about his experience this day.
National Day of Mourning is organized by the United American Indians of New England, and is held every Thanksgiving morning and afternoon in the streets of Plymouth. For the BCRP, I am Chuck Rosina in Plymouth, MA.
This work is in the public domain