To honor the ancestors on whose land I exist, I am re-posting this message from the United American Indians of New England:
WHAT IS NATIONAL DAY OF MOURNING? An annual tradition since 1970, Day of Mourning is a solemn, spiritual and highly political day.
Many Native Americans fast from sundown the day before through the afternoon of that day (and have a social after Day of Mourning so that participants in DOM can break their fasts).
We are mourning our ancestors and the genocide of our peoples and the theft of our lands. NDOM is a day when we mourn, but we also feel our strength in political action. Over the years, participants in Day of Mourning have buried Plymouth Rock a number of times, boarded the Mayflower replica, and placed ku klux klan sheets on the statue of William Bradford, etc.
How you can still support the National Day of Mourning even if you can’t come to Plymouth?
If you are unable to participate directly in the National Day of Mourning in Plymouth, MA, here are five ways you can express your solidarity with United American Indians of New England and the National Day of Mourning:
1. Help raise the public profile of the National Day of Mourning through social media, articles and letters to the editor. Would you rather support National Day of Mourning Plymouth than engage in what is fundamentally a celebration of white supremacy, the theft of a continent and the genocide of Indigenous peoples? Say why on your Facebook page, via twitter, or in your local paper. Send a copy of what you write to National Day of Mourning organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Use Thanksgiving Day as a ‘teachable moment’ to educate family and friends. If you gather to partake in a Thanksgiving feast, have a reading before the eating begins.
- Here is one possible text that is just about the right length and ably debunks the peaceful co-existence myth of the ‘first Thanksgiving’: Matthew Hughey’s “On Thanksgiving: Why Myths Matter” (www.racismreview.com/blog/2009/11/24/on-thanksgiving-why-myths-matter/)
- You can also read something appropriate from the http://www.UAINE.org website.
- If appetites are whetted for more truth-telling, you can recommend for further reading David Stannard’s American Holocaust: Columbus and the Conquest of the New World (see excerpts here: http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/History/American_Holocaust.html).
3. Spread the knowledge and give the “hidden” story a human face by arranging for a member of UAINE to give a talk at a school, church or community center near you.
4. Get involved in campaigns to right some of the wrongs experienced by Indigenous Peoples.
- You can work to free the Native American activist Leonard Peltier (www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/) who has been a political prisoner for 40 years.
- You can join the fight against racist and demeaning mascots (www.changethemascot.org), name brands, and products.
- You can fight to abolish Columbus Day and instead declare Indigenous People’s Day on the 2nd Monday in October.
- Check out the UAINE facebook page and many other media outlets for information about what is happening in your area and what you can do to help. Express your solidarity, and urge others in your community (trade union, social justice organization, religious community, etc.) to help, too.
5. Confront the crisis represented by climate change and the despoliation of the Earth. Indigenous people are on the front lines defending the water and land from pipelines, fracking, mining, and much more. The fossil fuel wars are spearheaded by Indigenous peoples throughout the Americas who are fighting to preserve what is left of their land and treaty rights. “Many non Native people,” Naomi Klein recently wrote, “are starting to realize that Indigenous rights – if aggressively backed by civil challenges, direct action, and mass movements demanding that they be respected – may now represent the most powerful barriers protecting all of us from a future of climate chaos.”