For many people, this Thursday will be about overeating, shopping, football, and seldom-seen cousins. So-called “Black Friday,” the traditional start of the accelerated Christmas buying season is on deck. Consumption, of both food and “stuff,” is the true spirit of the season.
But a smaller group, including activists, educators, and people of conscience will rendezvous at the East Flatbush office of Flanbwayan Haitian Literacy Project at 208 Parkside Avenue (between Flatbush & Ocean Aves.) They will get on the bus, joining the thousands of participants in this year’s NATIONAL DAY OF MOURNING (NDOM). Their destination will be Cole Hill overlooking the famed Plymouth Rock.
This year will mark the 49th manifestation of a tradition began in 1970. NDOM challenges the lies, racism, and hypocrisy associated with the Thanksgiving celebration. Organized by the United American Indians of New England or UAINE, the day of mourning will highlight the genocide of indigenous people, the illegal expropriation of land, the ongoing violation of legally binding treaties, and the destruction of native culture.
These practices are not relics of the distant past; they are current components of American culture, politics, and society. From the insulting football “Redskins” and “Chiefs” mascots, or the veneration of the terrorist Christopher Columbus, or the Keystone pipeline approval over the objections of indigenous people, white supremacy allows an ongoing subordination of the rights and values of indigenous communities. And when will Hollywood stop slandering non-white peoples?
The formal program will begin at high noon, and will include a rally and march through the historic district of Plymouth. This will be followed by a pot luck lunch at a local church. And while UAINE welcomes solidarity from all communities, they are clear that this will be a forum for indigenous people. All speakers will come from the native population. As is perfectly appropriate. A highlight of every National Day of Mourning is the solidarity message from Leonard Peltier, the 73 year-old American Indian Movement (AIM) activist. He is one of America’s longest-held political prisoners.
There may still be a small number of seats available for the trip. Buses leave PROMPTLY at 6:00 AM on Thursday. Reach out to Brother Dahoud Andre (347-730-3620 or email firstname.lastname@example.org) to reserve a seat. But you must act quickly. Manhattan and Bronx supporters can also call 212-633-6646 to ask about availability of buses leaving from midtown.
Plymouth Rock and the Thanksgiving deception are key elements in the infrastructure, the mythology of American exceptionalism. The rock is just that, a modest boulder that, more than a century after the fact, was claimed to be the specific landing point of the Euro-English in Plymouth. If you ignore all that followed – a string of tribal wars, theft of native land, the enslavement/exile of the indigenous people, and the later introduction of the African slave trade – only then can the landing is seen as a major advance in human democracy and equality. The lies are so obvious that even the NY Times felt the need to make corrections to the historical record
And while the first Thanksgiving holiday (1621) was an inclusive harvest celebration (after the indigenous people taught the Europeans how to survive,) most of the Thanksgiving events were called to applaud military victories over the native people. In 1637, for example, the Massachusetts colony held a Thanksgiving event to celebrate the massacre of more than 600 Pequot tribal elders, women, and children.
This year’s NDOM builds on the momentum generated by the re-positioning of Confederate or KKK statuary in the south and by the pushback against the Columbus Day (now called Indigenous People’s Day) holiday. Americans of all complexions will no longer tolerate the outright lies that are embedded in what can be called Jim Crow American history, especially as they are included in the public education system. Robert E. Lee and Nathan Bedford Forrest (KKK organizer) are not heroes. They were traitors against the U. S. government, human traffickers, and terrorists. They should not be accorded places of honor in public buildings or parks. Similarly, any brief reading of Columbus’ own diaries will show him to be totally unworthy of a public holiday.
The pro-truth, anti-Columbus sentiment, and the efforts to remove the lies from the public school curriculum have caused the NYPD to assign guards to the traffic circle at west 59th Street. Last year, Mayor De Blasio appointed a blue ribbon “symbols of hate” committee to examine the true backgrounds of the persons honored in public spaces and institutions. After a perfunctory investigation, they recommended the retention of the offensive statue and a continuation of the Columbus discovered America myth.
New York’s own pretend progressive presidential wannabe’s (Cuomo and De Blasio) disagree on just about everything other than the three billion dollar giveaway to the Amazon corporation. But they are united in opposition to telling the truth about Columbus and his crimes. The commission is widely seen as a fig leaf providing cover for the Mayor.
On Thursday, you can help rewrite the inaccurate, offensive mythology that is called American history. TELL THE TRUTH! That is the bottom line objective of the NDOM marchers