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.



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