Native blood: the truth behind the myth of `Thanksgiving Day' (now with video)

Video: Thanksgiving: A Native American View

By Mike Ely

It is a deep thing that people still celebrate the survival of the early colonists at Plymouth — by giving thanks to the Christian god who supposedly protected and championed the European invasion. The real meaning of all that, then and now, needs to be continually excavated. The myths and lies that surround the past are constantly draped over the horrors and tortures of our present.

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Mike Ely's article is available as an MP3 recording. Click on the picture above.

Every schoolchild in the United States has been taught that the Pilgrims of the Plymouth Colony invited the local Indians to a major harvest feast after surviving their first bitter year in New England. But the real history of Thanksgiving is a story of the murder of indigenous people and the theft of their land by European colonialists–and of the ruthless ways of capitalism.

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In mid-winter 1620 the English ship Mayflower landed on the North American coast, delivering 102 exiles. The original native people of this stretch of shoreline had already been killed off. In 1614 a British expedition had landed there. When they left they took 24 Indians as slaves and left smallpox behind. Three years of plague wiped out between 90 and 96 per cent of the inhabitants of the coast, destroying most villages completely.

The Europeans landed and built their colony called “the Plymouth Plantation” near the deserted ruins of the Indian village of Pawtuxet. They ate from abandoned cornfields grown wild. Only one Pawtuxet named Squanto had survived–he had spent the last years as a slave to the English and Spanish in Europe. Squanto spoke the colonists’ language and taught them how to plant corn and how to catch fish until the first harvest. Squanto also helped the colonists negotiate a peace treaty with the nearby Wampanoag tribe, led by the chief Massasoit.

These were very lucky breaks for the colonists. The first Virginia settlement had been wiped out before they could establish themselves. Thanks to the good will of the Wampanoag, the settlers not only survived their first year but had an alliance with the Wampanoags that would give them almost two decades of peace.

John Winthrop, a founder of the Massahusetts Bay colony considered this wave of illness and death to be a divine miracle. He wrote to a friend in England, “But for the natives in these parts, God hath so pursued them, as for 300 miles space the greatest part of them are swept away by smallpox which still continues among them. So as God hath thereby cleared our title to this place, those who remain in these parts, being in all not 50, have put themselves under our protection.”

The deadly impact of European diseases and the good will of the Wampanoag allowed the settlers to survive their first year.

In celebration of their good fortune, the colony’s governor, William Bradford, declared a three-day feast of thanksgiving after that first harvest of 1621.

How the Puritans stole the land

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But the peace that produced the Thanksgiving Feast of 1621 meant that the Puritans would have 15 years to establish a firm foothold on the coast. Until 1629 there were no more than 300 settlers in New England, scattered in small and isolated settlements. But their survival inspired a wave of Puritan invasion that soon established growing Massachusetts towns north of Plymouth: Boston and Salem. For 10 years, boatloads of new settlers came.

And as the number of Europeans increased, they proved not nearly so generous as the Wampanoags.

On arrival, the Puritans and other religious sects discussed “who legally owns all this land. ”They had to decide this, not just because of Anglo-Saxon traditions, but because their particular way of farming was based on individual–not communal or tribal–ownership. This debate over land ownership reveals that bourgeois “rule of law” does not mean “protect the rights of the masses of people.”

Some settlers argued that the land belonged to the Indians. These forces were excommunicated and expelled. Massachusetts Governor Winthrop declared the Indians had not “subdued” the land, and therefore all uncultivated lands should, according to English Common Law, be considered “public domain.” This meant they belonged to the king. In short, the colonists decided they did not need to consult the Indians when they seized new lands, they only had to consult the representative of the crown (meaning the local governor).

The colonists embraced a line from Psalms 2:8. “Ask of me, and I shall give thee, the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” Since then, European settler states have similarly declared god their real estate agent: from the Boers seizing South Africa to the Zionists seizing Palestine.

The European immigrants took land and enslaved Indians to help them farm it. By 1637 there were about 2000 British settlers. They pushed out from the coast and decided to remove the inhabitants.

The shining City on the Hill

Where did the Plymouth and Massachusetts colonies of Puritan and “separatist” pilgrims come from and what were they really all about?

Governor Winthrop, a founder of the Massachusetts colony, said, “We shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us.” The Mayflower Puritans had been driven out of England as subversives. The Puritans saw this religious colony as a model of a social and political order that they believed all of Europe should adopt.

The Puritan movement was part of a sweeping revolt within English society against the ruling feudal order of wealthy lords. Only a few decades after the establishment of Plymouth, the Puritan Revolution came to power in England. They killed the king, won a civil war, set up a short-lived republic, and brutally conquered the neighbouring people of Ireland to create a larger national market.

The famous Puritan intolerance was part of a determined attempt to challenge the decadence and wastefulness of the rich aristocratic landlords of England. The Puritans wanted to use the power of state punishment to uproot old and still dominant ways of thinking and behaving.

The new ideas of the Puritans served the needs of merchant capitalist accumulation. The extreme discipline, thrift and modesty the Puritans demanded of each other corresponded to a new and emerging form of ownership and production. Their so-called “Protestant Ethic” was an early form of the capitalist ethic. From the beginning, the Puritan colonies intended to grow through capitalist trade–trading fish and fur with England while they traded pots, knives, axes, alcohol and other English goods with the Indians.

The New England were ruled by a government in which only the male heads of families had a voice. Women, Indians, slaves, servants, youth were neither heard nor represented. In the Puritan schoolbooks, the old law “honour thy father and thy mother” was interpreted to mean honoring “All our Superiors, whether in Family, School, Church, and Commonwealth.” And, the real truth was that the colonies were fundamentally controlled by the most powerful merchants.

The Puritan fathers believed they were the Chosen People of an infinite god and that this justified anything they did. They were Calvinists who believed that the vast majority of humanity was predestined to damnation. This meant that while they were firm in fighting for their own capitalist right to accumulate and prosper, they were quick to oppress the masses of people in Ireland, Scotland and North America, once they seized the power to set up their new bourgeois order. Those who rejected the narrow religious rules of the colonies were often simply expelled “out into the wilderness.”

The Massachusetts colony (north of Plymouth) was founded when Puritan stockholders had gotten control of an English trading company. The king had given this company the right to govern its own internal affairs, and in 1629 the stockholders simply voted to transfer the company to North American shores–making this colony literally a self-governing company of stockholders!

In US schools, students are taught that the Mayflower compact of Plymouth contained the seeds of “modern democracy” and “rule of law.” But by looking at the actual history of the Puritans, we can see that this so-called “modern democracy” was (and still is) a capitalist democracy based on all kinds of oppression and serving the class interests of the ruling capitalists.

In short, the Puritan movement developed as an early revolutionary challenge to the old feudal order in England. They were the soul of primitive capitalist accumulation. And transferred to the shores of North America, they immediately revealed how heartless and oppressive that capitalist soul is.

The birth of the `American way of war'

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In the Connecticut Valley, the powerful Pequot tribe had not entered an alliance with the British (as had the Narragansett, the Wampanoag, and the Massachusetts peoples). At first they were far from the centers of colonization. Then, in 1633, the British stole the land where the city of Hartford now sits–land which the Pequot had recently conquered from another tribe. That same year two British slave raiders were killed. The colonists demanded that the Indians who killed the slavers be turned over. The Pequot refused.

The Puritan preachers said, from Romans 13:2, “Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” The colonial governments gathered an armed force of 240 under the command of John Mason. They were joined by a thousand Narragansett warriors. The historian Francis Jennings writes: “Mason proposed to avoid attacking Pequot warriors which would have overtaxed his unseasoned, unreliable troops. Battle, as such, was not his purpose. Battle is only one of the ways to destroy an enemy’s will to fight. Massacre can accomplish the same end with less risk, and Mason had determined that massacre would be his objective.”

The colonist army surrounded a fortified Pequot village on the Mystic River. At sunrise, as the inhabitants slept, the Puritan soldiers set the village on fire.

William Bradford, Governor of Plymouth, 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. It was conceived they thus destroyed about 400 at this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire…horrible was the stink and scent thereof, but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the prayers thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them.”

Mason himself wrote: “It may be demanded…Should not Christians have more mercy and compassion? But…sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents…. We had sufficient light from the word of God for our proceedings.”

Three hundred and fifty years later the Puritan phrase “a shining city on the hill” became a favorite quote of conservative speechwriters.

Discovering the profits of slavery

This so-called “Pequot war” was a one-sided murder and slaving expedition. Over 180 captives were taken. After consulting the bible again, in Leviticus 24:44, the colonial authorities found justification to kill most of the Pequot men and enslave the captured women and their children. Only 500 Pequot remained alive and free. In 1975 the official number of Pequot living in Connecticut was 21.

Some of the war captives were given to the Narragansett and Massachusetts allies of the British. Even before the arrival of Europeans, Native peoples of North America had widely practiced taking war captives from other tribes as hostages and slaves.

The remaining captives were sold to British plantation colonies in the West Indies to be worked to death in a new form of slavery that served the emerging capitalist world market. And with that, the merchants of Boston made a historic discovery: the profits they made from the sale of human beings virtually paid for the cost of seizing them.

One account says that enslaving Indians quickly became a “mania with speculators.” These early merchant capitalists of Massachusetts started to make genocide pay for itself. The slave trade, first in captured Indians and soon in kidnapped Africans, quickly became a backbone of New England merchant capitalism.

Thanksgiving in the Manhattan Colony

In 1641 the Dutch governor Kieft of Manhattan offered the first “scalp bounty”–his government paid money for the scalp of each Indian brought to them. A couple years later, Kieft ordered the massacre of the Wappingers, a friendly tribe. Eighty were killed and their severed heads were kicked like soccer balls down the streets of Manhattan. One captive was castrated, skinned alive and forced to eat his own flesh while the Dutch governor watched and laughed. Then Kieft hired the notorious Underhill who had commanded in the Pequot war to carry out a similar massacre near Stamford, Connecticut. The village was set fire, and 500 Indian residents were put to the sword.

A day of thanksgiving was proclaimed in the churches of Manhattan. As we will see, the European colonists declared Thanksgiving Days to celebrate mass murder more often than they did for harvest and friendship.

The Conquest of New England

By the 1670s there were about 30,000 to 40,000 white inhabitants in the United New England Colonies–6000 to 8000 able to bear arms. With the Pequot destroyed, the Massachusetts and Plymouth colonists turned on the Wampanoag, the tribe that had saved them in 1620 and probably joined them for the original Thanksgiving Day.

In 1675 a Christian Wampanoag was killed while spying for the Puritans. The Plymouth authorities arrested and executed three Wampanoag without consulting the tribal chief, King Philip.

As Mao Tsetung says: “Where there is oppression there is resistance.” The Wampanoag went to war.

The Indians applied some military lessons they had learned: they waged a guerrilla war which overran isolated European settlements and were often able to inflict casualties on the Puritan soldiers. The colonists again attacked and massacred the main Indian populations.

When this war ended, 600 European men, one-eleventh of the adult men of the New England Colonies, had been killed in battle. Hundreds of homes and 13 settlements had been wiped out. But the colonists won.

In their victory, the settlers launched an all-out genocide against the remaining Native people. The Massachusetts government offered 20 shillings bounty for every Indian scalp, and 40 shillings for every prisoner who could be sold into slavery. Soldiers were allowed to enslave any Indian woman or child under 14 they could capture. The “Praying Indians” who had converted to Christianity and fought on the side of the European troops were accused of shooting into the treetops during battles with “hostiles.” They were enslaved or killed. Other “peaceful” Indians of Dartmouth and Dover were invited to negotiate or seek refuge at trading posts–and were sold onto slave ships.

It is not known how many Indians were sold into slavery, but in this campaign, 500 enslaved Indians were shipped from Plymouth alone. Of the 12,000 Indians in the surrounding tribes, probably about half died from battle, massacre and starvation.

After King Philip’s War, there were almost no Indians left free in the northern British colonies. A colonist wrote from Manhattan’s New York colony: “There is now but few Indians upon the island and those few no ways hurtful. It is to be admired how strangely they have decreased by the hand of God, since the English first settled in these parts.”

In Massachusetts, the colonists declared a “day of public thanksgiving” in 1676, saying, “there now scarce remains a name or family of them [the Indians] but are either slain, captivated or fled.”

Fifty-five years after the original Thanksgiving Day, the Puritans had destroyed the generous Wampanoag and all other neighboring tribes. The Wampanoag chief King Philip was beheaded. His head was stuck on a pole in Plymouth, where the skull still hung on display 24 years later.

The descendants of these Native peoples are found wherever the Puritan merchant capitalists found markets for slaves: the West Indies, the Azures, Algiers, Spain and England. The grandson of Massasoit, the Pilgrim’s original protector, was sold into slavery in Bermuda.

Runaways and rebels

But even the destruction of Indian tribal life and the enslavement of survivors brought no peace. Indians continued to resist in every available way. Their oppressors lived in terror of a revolt. And they searched for ways to end the resistance. The historian MacLeod writes: “The first `reservations’ were designed for the `wild’ Irish of Ulster in 1609. And the first Indian reservation agent in America, Gookin of Massachusetts, like many other American immigrants had seen service in Ireland under Cromwell.”

The enslaved Indians refused to work and ran away. The Massachusetts government tried to control runaways by marking enslaved Indians: brands were burnt into their skin, and symbols were tattooed into their foreheads and cheeks.

A Massachusetts law of 1695 gave colonists permission to kill Indians at will, declaring it was “lawful for any person, whether English or Indian, that shall find any Indians traveling or skulking in any of the towns or roads (within specified limits), to command them under their guard and examination, or to kill them as they may or can.”

The northern colonists enacted more and more laws for controlling the people. A law in Albany forbade any African or Indian slave from driving a cart within the city. Curfews were set up; Africans and Indians were forbidden to have evening get-togethers. On Block Island, Indians were given 10 lashes for being out after nine o’clock. In 1692 Massachusetts made it a serious crime for any white person to marry an African, an Indian or a mulatto. In 1706 they tried to stop the importation of Indian slaves from other colonies, fearing a slave revolt.


Looking at this history raises a question: Why should anyone celebrate the survival of the earliest Puritans with a Thanksgiving Day? Certainly the Native peoples of those times had no reason to celebrate.

The ruling powers of the United States organised people to celebrate Thanksgiving Day because it is in their interest. That’s why they created it. The first national celebration of Thanksgiving was called for by George Washington. And the celebration was made a regular legal holiday later by Abraham Lincoln during the civil war (right as he sent troops to suppress the Sioux of Minnesota).

Washington and Lincoln were two presidents deeply involved in trying to forge a unified bourgeois nation-state out of the European settlers in the United States. And the Thanksgiving story was a useful myth in their efforts at U.S. nation-building. It celebrates the “bounty of the American way of life,” while covering up the brutal nature of this society.

[Mike Ely is a participant in the Kasama Project, where several of his other historical writings are available.]

Submitted by Terry Townsend on Thu, 11/26/2009 - 14:14


Paul D'Amato tells the real story of the "first Thanksgiving"--and the history of conquest and resistance that followed after it.

THE THANKSGIVING myth is intertwined with this country's origin myth.

Puritans fleeing religious persecution in England landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620 in search of freedom. Indians helped them plant corn and survive. They made a compact that is the basis of our first constitution, and they held a feast, together with some Indians, to celebrate and give thanks to God for their first bounteous harvest.

The story has elements of truth, but not much more than elements. What children learn is the overarching message--that Pilgrims were everything good about America: European, Christian, sober, democratic, generous, God-fearing, and so on and so forth.

True, an Indian named Squanto did teach the Pilgrims how to plant corn and saved the invaders from total starvation. What we aren't told is that Squanto learned English because he had been abducted and made a slave in Europe some years before, and the place where he taught the new settlers to plant corn was the village he had grown up in, Patuxet, now depopulated by the impact of European diseases.

The colonists planted their first crops in an abandoned field cleared by Indians, and found the area strewn with the bleached bones of dead Indians, which the surviving ones, having fled elsewhere, were unable to bury.

There are other problems with the story. The Pilgrims' relations with the first Indians they encountered were not initially friendly; short of provisions, the Pilgrims stole corn from a granary of the Nauset Indians, and later robbed a grave and some Indian houses they stumbled across.

What has in hindsight been described as the "first" Thanksgiving was a typical English harvest feast. It took place almost a year into the existence of the settlement, whose numbers had dwindled by half because of disease and starvation to only 50 people. According to the account of William Bradford, 90 Indians, led by Massassoit, the Wampanoag chief or Sachem, attended the feast, bringing five deer with them.

In all the Thanksgiving stories and plays, the Indians are really a kind of sideshow to the Pilgrim "fathers"--even though all the foods were Indian foods; the Indians outnumbered the Pilgrims; and without the Indians, the Pilgrims would not have survived. Yet the thanks are never to the Indians, but to God, to the Pilgrims themselves--anything but to Native Americans.

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THIS IMAGE of Indians as props for the occasion still persists. It reflects a not uncommon view of the "New World," peddled from the beginning by Europeans who aimed to conquer and settle it--that it was a sparsely populated place, inhabited by nomadic people.

Capt. John Smith, who had helped settle Jamestown in 1609, argued that Englishmen could rightfully seize Indian land because God intended land to be cultivated, and this land was "unmanned wild country" that Indians "range rather than inhabit." (Did the Zionist leaders who founded Israel read Smith?)

The truth was very different. On the Eastern seaboard, Indians did "tame" the land. They grew three types of corn, with at least two growing seasons, as well as squash and beans, and they supplemented their diet with fish, shellfish, deer and birds. They cleared land not only for farming, but also set controlled brush fires in forests in order to create better hunting conditions. They made extensive systems of trails and roads for trade and travel, and more. The English settlers found wooded areas that looked like parks and large open fields that reminded them of home.

In New England, what may have been bubonic plague, brought to coastal Maine a few years before the arrival of the Mayflower, had reduced Massasoit's Pokanokets from 12,000 people, with 3,000 warriors, to a tribe able to deploy only a few hundred fighters. Indeed, the reason Massasoit was so friendly to the Pilgrims was because he felt too weak to fend off his rivals, the larger Naragansetts, and hoped to form an alliance with the newcomers to strengthen his position.

The myth also obscures the purpose of the colony. While it was true that some of the Mayflower passengers were English Puritans attempting to find a place to practice their religion without persecution, more than half of the colonists were not Puritans. Moreover, in order to be able to travel to this "New World," the colonists had to secure the backing of a joint-stock company whose investors expected a return on their investment.

Plymouth was both a profit-making venture and an outpost of English imperialism. There had been a spate of colonizing efforts by England in the region, in competition with other European powers Spain, France and Holland. England, like its competitors, aimed to claim this "New World" and its riches by any means necessary, including the outright extermination of entire peoples.

The historian Francis Jennings outlines the policy adopted by English conquerors that had already been established in Ireland:

(1) A deliberate policy of inciting competition between natives in order, by division, to maintain control; (2) a disregard for pledges and promises to natives, no matter how solemnly made; (3) the introduction of total exterminatory war against some communities of natives in order to terrorize others; and (4) a highly developed propaganda of falsification to justify all acts and policies of the conquerors whatsoever.

Listen to this Jamestown colonist, writing after the Powhatans had risen to drive out the English settlers in 1622:

We, who hitherto have had possession of no more ground then their waste, and our purchase...may now by right of War, and law of Nations, invade the Country, and destroy them who sought to destroy us: whereby we shall enjoy their cultivated places...and possessing the fruits of others labors. Now their cleared grounds in all their villages (which are situated in the fruitfulest places of the land) shall be inhabited by us.

The Indians were not prepared for the level of savagery meted out against them.

In 1621, the Plymouth colonies' military commander, Captain Miles Standish, ambushed and massacred a group of eight Massachusetts Indians north of Plymouth in order to set an example to those who might consider challenging the Plymouth settlement. "This sudden and unexpected execution," wrote colonist Edward Winslow, "hath so terrified and amazed them...they forsook their in swamps...and so brought manifold diseases amongst themselves, whereof very many are dead."

After this incident, the invaders acquired a new name among the indigenous people: "Wotowquenange," meaning stabbers or cutthroats.

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IT SHOULD be clear, then, that the first Thanksgiving was not the end of the story. The Indians very quickly discovered they had little to celebrate.

As the European settlements grew and began to outnumber the Indians, the invaders became more arrogant, more land-hungry and more powerful. The increasing encroachment on Indian lands built to a tension that eventually provoked some Indians into decisive and desperate action.

Some 64 years after the colonists feasted with Massassoit, in 1675, Massasoit's son, Metacomet, known by the Pilgrims as "King Philip," fought a war of resistance against the New England colonists. At the war's end, 600 were killed and 1,200 houses burned in the English side; 3,000 Indians were killed, many of them victims of outright massacres by the colonists. Survivors were sold into slavery.

Philip was finally hunted down and eventually murdered. The colonists displayed Philip's head on a pole in Plymouth, where it remained for 25 years.

This story of conquest and resistance is not part of the "Thanksgiving" myth because the myth is meant to sanitize history and make the invasion of the Americas by European conquerors a benign and sublime national origin story.

Indeed, in 1970, the Massachusetts Department of Commerce asked the Wampanoags to select a speaker to mark the 350th anniversary of the Pilgrims' landing. Before Wamsutta Frank James could read his speech, though, it had to be approved by the people in charge of the ceremony. Here is what they decided not to allow him to read:

Today is a time of celebrating for you...but it is not a time of celebrating for me. It is with heavy heart that I look back upon what happened to my people...The Pilgrims had hardly explored the shores of Cape Cod four days before they had robbed the graves of my ancestors and stolen their corn...

Massassoit, the great leader of the Wampanoag, knew these facts; yet he and his people welcomed and befriended the settlers...[B]efore 50 years were to pass, the Wampanoags...and other Indians living near the settlers would be killed by their guns or dead from diseases that we caught from them...Although our way of life is almost gone and our language is almost extinct, we the Wampanoags still walk the lands of Massachusetts...

What has happened cannot change, but today we work toward a better America, a more Indian America where people and nature are once again more important.

In response to the censorship, a group calling itself the United American Indians of New England declared the Thanksgiving holiday to be a National Day of Mourning.

On that day in 1970, protesters boarded the Mayflower II (a replica of the Pilgrims' original ship, built in 1957) and tore the Union Jack from the mast. It was replaced with the flag that had flown the year before over liberated Alcatraz Island when Indian activists in California had occupied it, and offered to buy Alcatraz from the government for $24, the same price the Dutch paid for Manhattan.

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THE UNITED American Indians of New England have held a Day of Mourning every year since in Plymouth.

Thirty-two years later, at the Day of Mourning in 2001, Moonanum James drew the connection between the resistance of Native Americans in the past and the struggles they face today:

Back in 1970, those who started Day of Mourning spoke of terrible racism and poverty.

Racism is still alive and well. Our people still are mired in the deepest poverty. We still lack decent health care, education and housing. Every winter, thousands of our people have to make a bitter choice between heating and eating. Our youth suicide rates, our rates of alcoholism continue to be the highest in the nation. As the economy crumbles around us, these conditions will only worsen.

Today, we mourn the loss of millions of our ancestors and the devastation of our beautiful land and water and air. We pray for our people who have died during this past year. We join America in grieving for those who lost their lives at the World Trade Center.

And I hope that you will join me in grieving, too, for the immense suffering of our sisters and brothers in Afghanistan, in Palestine, in Iraq--human beings who are referred to by this government as "collateral damage." We remember all too well that our people throughout the Americas have for centuries been the "collateral damage" of the European invasion.

The events of this past September were tragic and have affected all of us. Many innocent people lost their lives. We condemn all acts of violence and terrorism perpetrated by all governments and organizations against innocent civilians worldwide. And we condemn the racial profiling and detentions that are being directed against our Arab, South Asian and Muslim brothers and sisters in this country.

But the events of September 11 were certainly not the first acts of terrorism to have occurred in this country. Since Columbus and the rest of the Europeans invaded our lands, Native people have been virtually nonstop victims of terrorism. I think of the slaughter of the Pequots at Mystic, Connecticut, in 1637. I think of U.S. military massacres of peaceful Native people at Wounded Knee and Sand Creek, and so many, many other places. I think of the armed assault by the FBI on a peaceful encampment at Pine Ridge in the 1970s.

In fact, the very foundations of this powerful and wealthy country are the theft of our lands and slaughter of Native peoples and the kidnapping and enslavement of our African-American sisters and brothers. And the U.S.-assisted terrorism against Native peoples continues to this day in all too many countries in Central and South America...

These are indeed difficult times. But our ancestors and our traditions will give us the strength that we need. Always we must remember that we shall endure. A handful of us somehow managed to survive Columbus and the conquistadors and the Pilgrims and the French and all the other invaders.

Beautiful Native youth: Remember what your ancestors went through to bring you here. We are like the dirt, like the sand, like the tides. We shall endure. The struggle will continue. In the spirit of Crazy Horse, in the spirit of Zapata, in the spirit of Metacom, in the spirit of Anna Mae Aquash, in the spirit of Geronimo: We are not vanishing. We are not conquered. We are as strong as ever.

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What else to read

For a biographical sketch of nine American Indian leaders that are often glossed over in textbooks, check out Alvim M. Josephy’s The Patriot Chiefs: A Chronicle of American Indian Resistance [1]

James D. Drake’s King Philip's War: Civil War in New England, 1675-1676 [2], looks at the 1675 war between the English colonists and the indigenous people of New England, which decimated the region's native population.

Francis Jennings’ The Invasion of America: Indians, Colonialism, and the Cant of Conquest [3] recasts the story of American colonization as a territorial invasion and shows Puritan actions in the light of material interest and expansion.

Gary B. Nash’s Red, White, and Black: The Peoples of Early North America [4] presents an account of the interactions between Native Americans, African Americans and Euroamericans during the colonial and revolutionary eras.

Submitted by Jo (not verified) on Thu, 11/24/2011 - 20:06