Six Thanksgiving Myths And The Wampanoag Side Of The Story

In 1621, though Pilgrims celebrated a feast, it was not repeated in the years to follow. In 1636, a murdered white man was found in his boat and the Pequot were blamed. In retaliation, settlers burned Pequot villages.

Additionally, English Major John Mason rallied his troops to further burn Pequot wigwams and then attacked and killed hundreds more men, women and children. According to Mason’s reports of the massacre, “We must burn them! Such a dreadful terror let the Almighty fall upon their spirits that they would flee from us and run into the very flames. Thus did the Lord judge the heathen, filling the place with dead bodies.”

The Governor of Plymouth William Bradford wrote: “Those that escaped the fire were slain with the sword; some hewed to pieces, others run through with their rapiers, so that they were quickly dispatched and very few escaped.

Continue reading

Mass Killings, Native Erasure

Upon his arrival into the “New World” Columbus and his crew unleashed a vicious and relentless wave of violence against the Indigenous populations. From enslavement, to mass rapes, to mass killings Columbus and his men inflicted grotesque levels of violence never before seen in the Western hemisphere. By 1508, an estimated three to five million Indigenous peoples from the Island Nations had died since the time of Columbus’s arrival.

The genocide had begun, one driven, and backed, by an ideology under the Doctrine of Discovery that claimed European Christians had a God given right to set forth and colonize any lands not occupied by European Christians.

Throughout the Western hemisphere, colonization and genocide followed from the eastern shores to the Pacific Ocean.

Continue reading

Indigenous People’s Day Reminds Us To Acknowledge And Support Indigenous Struggles

Today is Indigenous Peoples Day. Across the country, a growing number of cities and states are recognizing this day in place of the traditional Columbus Day. This change reflects the growing awareness that holidays like Columbus Day are used to rewrite the past and uphold institutions of white supremacy, racism and settler colonialism. As Justin Teba writes, in Albuquerque, they issued a proclamation to recognize this as a day ” to reflect upon the ongoing struggles of Indigenous peoples on this land.”

I can only write from the perspective of a settler, but I do want to highlight a few of the current struggles. We have a responsibility to educate ourselves about the history of the founding of the United States, to join in struggle with those who are oppressed and to transform our society to end these devastating institutions.

Continue reading

Native Genocide, Native Liberation

The scope of violence against Native people in the United States is truly staggering. In fact, it would be safe to say the historical genocide never ended. It is ongoing. It is the violence of stolen lands, of stolen children, of dispossession, of police, of payday lenders, liquor stores and pawnshops, of fracking and mining in Native territory. And yet, despite this furious and barbaric onslaught, Native people persist – unbowed.

Continue reading

The Horrific Truths About Indian Boarding Schools Are Gaining Attention

Due in part to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the horrific truths about what children and their families endured and the graves of the children who were murdered in the residential schools are being uncovered. The residential schools originated in the United States, which has yet to recognize their existence and what happened in them. That may be starting to change after many decades of activism to raise awareness and now an initiative by Secretary of the Interior Haaland. Clearing the FOG speaks with Matt Remle, an indigenous human rights activist about the history of the boarding schools, their purpose to enable the exploitation of resources and how they are connected into the bigger picture of genocide and colonization.

Continue reading

Seneca Nation Statement On Discovery Of Indigenous Children’s Remains

Seneca Nation President Matthew Pagels issued the following statement regarding the discovery of the remains of 215 children buried on the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia, Canada. The school, which operated between 1890 and 1969, was once Canada’s largest Indigenous residential school, which hundreds of thousands of Indigenous children were forced to attend. Thousands of children are known to have died at these schools in the United States and Canada, and it is believed that the deaths of hundreds – if not thousands – were never documented.

“Senecas are grieving along with the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation in the wake of this recent discovery – another gruesome reminder of the treatment and terror that generations of Indigenous people suffered at the hands of foreign settlers on our own lands.

Continue reading

Sit-In To Mourn 215 Children Buried At Residential School

Toronto, Canada – A small group of people rallied Monday in front of the statue of Egerton Ryerson on the Ryerson University campus to stage a sit-in mourning the 215 children found buried at the Kamloops Indigenous Residential School last week.

In an Instagram post, a group called X University, Indigenous Students fighting for social justice & human rights,  (@wreckonciliation_x_university) said “we will be occupying the space until we meet 215 pairs of shoes.” The group has adopted ‘X University’ in place of Ryerson University’s current name in protest and to demand it be changed given Ryerson’s role in designing the model for residential schools.

Those gathered were seen forming a circle around a drummer who was singing.

Continue reading

Gun Violence Starts At The Top

Mass shootings happen with appalling regularity in the United States. It is bad enough that recent shootings took place in Atlanta, Boulder, and Indianapolis, but the horror is always followed by the same useless faux debates. Half the population wants to limit gun ownership, the other half doesn’t and continues a gun buying spree to prove their point. Politicians pretend to take action, victims are mourned, thoughts and prayers are uttered, and the cycle repeats itself with the next awful event.

What very few people dare to discuss is how these acts are connected with U.S. history and with the state in its current form. This country exists as a result of genocides and terrorism. The indigenous inhabitants were attacked with wars and disease and the survivors were driven from their ancestral lands.

Continue reading

California Truth, Healing Council Begins Historic Work

Two years ago, California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a formal apology to tribes in the state for atrocities committed against them and for the history of genocide and oppression they endured.

He also decided to put action, and money, behind his words.

Through an executive order, the governor established the California Truth and Healing Council to provide an avenue for Native Americans “to clarify the record – and provide their historical perspective – on the troubled relationship between tribes and the state.”

This first-of-its-kind panel recently held its initial meeting to discuss what it hopes to accomplish.

“Telling the truth is only one small part of this whole healing cycle,” said Caleen Sisk, a council member and chief of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. “It’s taking action and doing things so tribal ways can continue to exist.”

Continue reading

Scheer Intelligence: The California Genocide No One Talks About

UCLA history professor Benjamin Madley’s book An American Genocide: The United States and the California Catastrophe 1846-1873 details the killing of tens of thousands of Native Americans as the state was being settled in the 19th century. In their conversation, Madley tells Robert Scheer why he believes these massacres did, in fact, constitute genocide in its 20th century United Nations definition. He talks about white settlers’ dehumanization and paranoia about “the other,” and the exceptions to that way of thinking.

Continue reading

How Hitler Found His Blueprint For A German Empire

Native peoples in the United States continue to struggle for justice. While this year brought some important victories, such as Washington’s NFL team finally dropping its racist name and logo, and a landmark win in the Supreme Court for Native rights in McGirt v. Oklahoma, the difficult work of recognizing and redressing the country’s legacy of oppressing its first inhabitants continues.

Efforts by Native and allied activists to spread observance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day as an alternative to Columbus Day is an important part of this work.

Continue reading

When Is An obelisk Not Just An Obelisk?

New Mexico – When I was a child, my dad and I would sometimes walk down to Santa Fe Plaza, especially on cool autumn afternoons. We would get Cokes from Woolworth’s. My father would visit with friends and family, selling under the portal of the Palace of the Governor’s, and we would sit in the center of the Plaza, on the stone banco around the obelisk. My dad would point out the word savage which was etched into the marble plaque, and he would laugh.

“Those are your ancestors,” he would say, with no little bit of irony.

Continue reading

Shifting Our Comfort Zones To Face The Realities Of Colonization, American Genocide And Slavery

Clearing the FOG co-hosts, Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, interviewed Jean-Luc Pierite, a member of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe from New Orleans. Pierite is president of the North American Indian Center of Boston (NAICOB) and is active in programs to protect native languages. NAICOB is part of an alliance pushing for legislative changes in Massachusetts to protect native culture and heritage and improve education.  He describes the ongoing genocide and colonization of indigenous peoples through stories of current struggle and the necessity for solidarity and centering indigenous and black and brown voices at the forefront of work for liberation. The impetus for the interview was the recent 50th National Day of Mourning. 

Continue reading

Decolonization Requires Black, Brown And Indigenous Voices At The Forefront

Native Americans and allies recently commemorated the 50th Annual National Day of Mourning at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts. Next year will be the 400th anniversary of the pilgrims landing as part of the European colonization of North America, which led to land theft and massacres of the Indigenous Peoples living there. We speak with Jean-Luc Pierite of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe who currently resides in Boston about the National Day of Mourning and some of the ways European colonization and the genocide that resulted from it are ongoing. Pierite describes efforts he is involved in such as community programs, reenactments, and legislation and the solidarity that is building worldwide. He emphasizes the necessity of oppressed peoples’ voices being at the center of the struggle to decolonize the United States and bring about reparations.

Continue reading

50th National Day Of Mourning

An annual tradition since 1970, Day of Mourning is a solemn, spiritual and highly political day. Many of us 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. It 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.

Although we very much welcome our non-Native supporters to stand with us, it is a day when only Indigenous people speak about our history and the struggles that are taking place throughout the Americas.

Continue reading