Who is to blame that the atrocities of the past? Pine Ridge, Wounded Knee, The Little Bighorn, Small Pox, and Genocide, are all swept under the carpet while the once majestic and free roaming Natives, as well as the buffalo have been all but lost to slaughter, urban sprawl, disease, poverty and revisionist history.
As the opening prayer was beat out on the drum this Thursday in downtown Plymouth MA I wept openly. I wept juxtaposing the beautiful almost fully extinct display I was witnessing with the apathy and exclusivity of modern religion. I wept for the urban sprawl and miles upon endless miles of gas stations and fast food signs which pollute the scenery, landscape, and bodies of my friends, family, and fellow man. I wept for truth. I wept watching fat children not pay any attention at all, and that their parent’s couldn’t care less. I wept for my cousin, fighting a war which is not hers, or mine, or yours, in someone else’s back yard. I wept in painful reminder that all this was a business venture,.. (keeping in mind the pilgrims were already free in holland.) I wept for the Native American’s, once bought and sold on the very shores of “America’s Home Town” I wept for the over 5 million turkeys slaughtered around this time annually. I wept for my dead father. I wept for wasted time. I wept because I am trapped in this mortal shell and can not fly high and away from it all.
Thanksgiving was declared a National Day of Mourning in 1970 when Wamsutta was asked to read a speech at a Thanksgiving celebration to commemorate the occasion, but instead of a flowery speech peppered with niceties, he instead took a lesson from their own history books and wrote a speech chronicling a few of the atrocities committed on his people. The response? Days before Wamsutta was to speak he was told his speech was unacceptable, and he would only be allowed to read a speech of their preparation.
Wamsutta instead began a now 40 year old tradition of protest and prayer for peace on top of Coles Hill. That year they were met with the token hatred, racism, and violence which has been the Native American lot since shortly after 1620.
I began a new tradition this past Thursday; one I had witnessed from afar in my youth, now one that I will continue into my adulthood.
Do this country a favor and learn who Leonard Peltier is.