Monthly Archives: November 2010

Thanksgiving, the Holiday, the Myth, the Massacre

I always wanted to play the Indian. Indians always had the best costumes for any school holiday play. Indians always had to fight (except on Thanksgiving)  and  I liked to run and fight with the boys. I was always stronger and faster than the boys. I was programmed and reprogrammed by day care and public schools to think that Thanksgiving was the epitome of Diplomatic Relations between us and them (the Pilgrims)…Yeah I always knew I was one of them (a so called Indian, a Black Indian that is).

Thanksgiving was a fantasia for me. We were discovered by civilized Pilgrims who were scared of us at first like you would be scared of a dog…THEN because we knew the land and were not such the savage people that the Pilgrims  thought we were….We shared.  For the first  13-15 years of my life I believed this. These magical stories told in  history books cast a spell on me that would not begin to ware off until the 7th grade. It was then that I realized that we could not have been discovered if we were already here…I got a paddling by teacher at the time and had to write a  sentence like this 100 times for punishment …. I will not talk in Mr. Johnson’s 6th period social studies class blah blah blah blah blah blah….

The magic and spells casted  by the reading  of the spell-ing and writing of the spell-ing  and testing  of the spell-ing on these untruths was so real that I never questioned anything. I just went along with eating Turkey and Pig on that particular day because everyone else in the family did and we did it together. Thanksgiving  was a reason for celebration. That was then and I was thirteen.

Now I feel threatened every time we must get ready for yet another “satanic” flesh eating holiday. I think about my family in Haiti infected with Cholera and the latest victims of the same  Biological Warfare that was waged against us in the 1600s.

Read this version of Thanksgiving by Dr. Tingba Apidta

“Stools are stumps made good seats for the Pilgrim population. The Indians sat on the ground, gnawing on dear bones, tearing fowl apart, and lapping up the very ancient and rancid butter with grunts of appreciation. It is a pretty picture to think of.”
xxxxxxxxxx— from Old Glory, by Samuel Eliot Morison

A harvest feast did take place in Plymouth in 1621, probably in mid-October and the Indians who attended were not even invited. It later became known as “Thanksgiving” but the Pilgrims never called it that. The pilgrim crop had failed miserably that year, but the agricultural expertise of the Pilgrims’ Indian friend Squanto had produced 20 acres of corn without which the Pilgrims would have surely perished. The Pilgrims invited Massasoit, and it was he who then invited 90 or more of his Indian brothers and sisters to the affair to the chagrin of the indignant Europeans. No turkey, cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie was served, no prayers were offered and the Indians were not invited back.

The Pilgrims did, however, consume a good deal of home brew. In fact, each Pilgrim drank at least a half gallon of ale a day which they preferred even to water.

Contrary to popular mythology, the Pilgrims were no friends to the majority of local Indians. Just days before this alleged Thanksgiving communion, a company of Pilgrims led by Myles Standish actively sought the head of a local chief.

They deliberately caused a rivalry between two friendly Indians, putting one against the other in an attempt to obtain “better intelligence and make them both more diligent.” An 11-foot-high wall was erected around the entire settlement for the purpose of keeping the Indians out.

Standish eventually got his bloody prize. He beheaded an Indian brave named Wituwamat and brought the head to Plymouth where it was displayed on a wooden spike for many years. Just a few years later, in about 1636, a force of colonists trapped some 700 Pequot Indian men, women, and children near the mouth of the Mystic River. English Captain John Mason attacked the Indian camp with “fire, sword, blunderbuss, and tomahawk.” Only a handful escaped and few prisoners were taken, to the great delight of the Pilgrims:

To see them frying in the fire, and the streams of their blood quenching the same, and the stench was horrible; but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave praise thereof to God. This event marked what was most likely the first actual Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims were pleased with the result. Any goodwill that may have existed was certainly now gone and by 1675 Massachusetts and the surrounding colonies were in a full-scale war with the great Indian chief of the Wampanoags, Metacomet.

Renamed “King Philip” by the White man, Metacomet watched the steady erosion of the lifestyle and culture of his people as European laws and values engulfed them. Forced into humiliating submission by the power of a distant king, Metacomet struck out in 1675 with raids on several isolated frontier towns. The expedient use of the so-called “Praying Indians,” natives converted by the colonists to “Christianity,” ultimately defeated the great Indian nation, just half a century after the arrival of the European historian Douglas Edward Leach describes the bitter end:

The ruthless executions, the cruel sentences … were all aimed at the same goal—unchallenging white supremacy in southern New England. That the program succeeded is convincingly demonstrated by the almost complete docility of the local native ever since.

When Captain Benjamin Church tracked down and assassinated Metacomet, his body was quartered and parts were “left for the wolves.” The great Indian chief’s hands were cut off and sent to Boston and his head went to Plymouth where it was set upon a pole on Thanksgiving Day, 1676. Metacomet’s nine-year-old son was destined for execution, the Puritan reasoning being that the offspring of the devil must pay for the sins of their father. He was instead shipped to the Caribbean to serve his life in slavery. In the midst of the Holocaust of the Red Man, Governor Dudley declared in 1704 a “General Thanksgiving” not to celebrate the brotherhood of man but for:

[God’s] infinite Goodness to extend His Favors … In defeating and disappointing … the Expeditions of the Enemy [Indians] against us, And the good Success given us against them, by delivering so many of them into our hands… Just two years later one could reap a $50 reward in Massachusetts for the scalp of an Indian.

The model of the Indian reservation system in North America had its origin in Massachusetts. A series of legislative acts “for the better regulation of the Indians” established Indian settlements throughout the state. A White overseer was appointed and white Christianity was imposed. Historian George F. Weston wrote that demand was great for ropemaker John Harrison, what with “the need for rigging for all the ships and a new rope every time an Indian was hanged.” Bon Appetite!

Dr. Tingba Apidta is author of The Hidden History of Massachusetts: A Guide for Black Folks and also The Hidden History of Washington, DC


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Life Straws NOW! We NEED YOU!

By Aton Edwards I.P.N. Executive Director

I’d like to “cut straight to the chase” regarding all of the new developments since our Discovery Channel “Track Me If You Can” screening, and most importantly, the Haitian water filter drive meeting at the Yippie! Museum & Cafe in NYC.

Given the urgency of the situation on the ground in Haiti, we don’t have one moment to lose. Conditions are worsening by the hour so we need to operate as rapidly as possible to get things moving. The people of Haiti need as many water filters as we can collect — and they need them NOW! to help contain this horrific outbreak.

The details of our program are listed below:

1. Lifestraw NOW! Goal(s) — to create *special fund raising mechanisms to:

A. Purchase Lifestraw filters (personal & family).

B. Ship them to Haiti & pay customs “taxes” when necessary.

C. Distribute them in Port-au-Prince*

*This includes the cost of transportation, gasoline, diesel fuel and the individuals who will physically distribute the filters. Lifestraw NOW! operating costs will come from sponsors & other public donations.

Our small size will allow us to function with a very small overhead.

* Suggested special fund-raising mechanisms are as follows:

School & Church events/parties.

Community center gatherings/parties.

Organization (group) business special fund raising drives.

Union fund raisers.

Radio drives/fund raisers

Public Service Announcements (PSA’s).

House parties.

Individual donations and, anything appropriate that can be imagined.

No amount gathered and collected is too small or large! We’d like to generate 1,000,000 or more filters and every dollar places us closer to this goal.

IMPORTANT NOTE: To avoid scams & theft, donations can only be collected by OFFICIAL LIFESTRAW NOW! OFFICERS.

All lifestraw NOW! Officers names will be posted on this website. If anyone claims to be a Lifestraw NOW! officer and, you do not see their name on this website, please contact me directly @ aton7@readyforanything.org. No misrepresentation will be tolerated. All offenders will be promptly reported to the law.

2. Joining Lifestraw NOW! is a simple process.

A. First determine how you would like to function within the group. Volunteers can help to organize & throw parties, special events, fundraisers and assist us with misc. services for Lifestraw NOW! but, cannot collect funds. Only Lifestraw NOW! registered officers can do this. Officers must be screened by the operating body of the group before being selected.

B. Email us at lifestrawnow@readyforanything.org. Place that your selection of VOLUNTEER or OFFICER in the regards box. Leave your name (group, organization, association, church etc) & contact info. (email, phone #) Let us know what, when & where you plan to stage an event. We will reach out STAT & assist you. If you choose OFFICER, we’ll call you directly to begin the screening process.

Lifestraw NOW! is also forming partnerships with groups, churches, companies individuals, etc that would like to work alongside the I.P.N. On Monday, November 15th, I will post a list featuring some.

Partners can also post their event info on this website.

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