Monday, November 24, 2008

On the so-called U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving -- A Tribute to Metacom and all Wampanoag Resisters - women, men, elders, children -- remember them all

Metacom's War or Metacom's Rebellion, was an armed resitance in 1675-6 by indigenous peoples of present-day southern New England against colonizing English invaders. Metacom was the son of Massasoit, the leader of the Wampanoag Nation, who saved the Pilgrims from certain starvation in the winter of 1620. Metacom ascended to become Grand Sachem of the Wampanoag Confederacy after the suspicious death of his older brother, the Grand Sachem Wamsutta in 1662. Metacom's open distrust of the invading English came to a head when Wamsutta suddenly died in Plymouth, while negotiating with colonial officials there. Tensions continued to grow until some Wampanoags were murdered by the English in June,1675; the war erupted immediately.

Colonial historian Francis Jennings estimated that Metacom's War killed nearly 7 of every 8 members of the Wampanoag Confederacy and 6 of every 13 English invaders. Metacom's War was proportionately one of the bloodiest and costliest in the history of America. More than half of New England's ninety towns were destroyed by indigenous defenders, who had reached the limit of their patience with the deceitful and murderous English parasites.

Metacom was ultimately tracked down by sell-out Indian traitors. He was killed, dismembered, and beheaded. His head was placed on a pole and displayed for years in Plymouth, the site where the Wampanoags saved the Pilgrims fifty six years earlier-- the site of the first so-called Thanksgiving dinner. Metacom is an indigenous hero. His name should be in the memory, and on the lips, of every American Indian child in the U.S. He fought and died in defense of his people, and of this land. On the U.S.' Thanksgiving, we should reject the gluttony and excess of the holiday, and we should fast in honor of Metacom. We should strive to achieve a fraction of his courage and his vision. LONG LIVE METACOM!
For a balanced treatment of this period of history see:
The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity
By Jill Lepore
Published by Vintage Books, 1999

Also, on this U.S. holiday, it might serve us all well to recall the words of the great Luther Standing Bear, who, in 1933,wrote:

"The white man does not understand the Indian for the reason that he does not understand America. He is too far removed from its formative processes. The roots of the tree of his life have not yet grasped the rock and soil. The white man is still troubled with primitive fears; he still has in his consciousness the perils of this frontier continent, some of its fastnesses not yet having yielded to his questing footsteps and inquiring eyes. He shudders still with the memory of the loss of his forefathers upon its scorching deserts and forbidding mountain tops. The man from Europe is still a foreigner and an alien. And he still hates the man who questioned his path across the continent." ... and he fabricates holidays like Thanksgiving to convince himself that Standing Bear was wrong, all the time silently being forced to admit that Standing Bear was (and is)absolutely correct.


Western Shoshones Protect Sacred Mountain

November 23, 2008
Shoshones files suit to stop gold mine


Days after the federal government approved one of the largest open-pit gold mines in the country, a group of Shoshone tribal members filed a federal lawsuit to stop the project, saying the mine is planned on the slopes of a sacred mountain that is used for religious and cultural purposes.

"The area is home to local Shoshone creation stories, spirit life, medicinal, food and ceremonial plants and items and continues to be used to this day by Shoshone for spiritual and cultural practices," the groups said in a statement.

If the Cortez Hills project, located on Mount Tenabo in Lander County south of Battle Mountain, is allowed, "Western Shoshone religious and cultural uses of the mine site will be permanently eliminated," said the suit, filed against the U.S. Department of the Interior and the federal Bureau of Land Management.

Roger Flynn, a lawyer representing the Shoshone groups, said although the project is located on public land, the federal government is obligated to respect the fact that the site "has been used for centuries as a focal point of Shoshone religious practices."

But Lou Schack, a spokesman for Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corp., which owns the Cortez mine, said the suit and its claims lack merit.

"There has been mining on Mount Tenabo since the late 1800s," Schack said. "Given the difficult economic situation in Nevada, there were hundreds of people who were thankful that we got the go-ahead. We are proud to say that northeast Nevada is stable because of the mining industry."

About 300 jobs were created in the Elko area over the past three years because of the Cortez mine, he said, and the company plans to add another 100 as the project goes forward, bringing the total jobs to about 800.

Gerald Smith, the district manager of the BLM's Battle Mountain field office, who is named as a defendant in the suit, said the agency completed a permitting process this month that included an environmental impact statement.

"I was the delegated officer, and I did sign the record of decision to move forward with the mine," he said. "It will be very lucrative for the mine, and will create a great deal of jobs in the area. The economic impact will be positive."

"But since this is litigation, I'm not at liberty to divulge any information," he added.

According to the suit, the project will cover about

6,571 acres of federal land and 221 acres on land owned by Cortez.

"The mine would blast and excavate a new massive open pit on Mount Tenabo, covering over 900 acres to a depth of over 2,000 feet, several new waste disposal and processing facilities (including a cyanide heap-leaching facility), expansions of existing mine pits," among a list of other new features, the lawsuit said.

"How are we, as a nation, showing our values, if we allow a transnational corporation to destroy this 'church' for all time, just to get 10 years worth of gold," said Larson Bill, vice-chairman of the South Fork Band Council of Western Shoshone of Nevada. "There are dozens of active gold mines on Western Shoshone lands already; there is no need for this one, which is clearly immoral and irresponsible."