By Staff. Plymouth, MA – Since 1970, Native Americans have gathered at noon on Cole’s Hill in Plymouth to commemorate a National Day of Mourning on the US thanksgiving holiday. Many Native Americans do not celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims and other European settlers. Thanksgiving day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native people, the theft of Native lands, and the relentless assault on Native culture. Participants in National Day of Mourning honor Native ancestors and the struggles of Native peoples to survive today. It is a day of remembrance and spiritual connection as well as a protest of the racism and oppression that Native Americans continue to experience.
By S. Brian Willson for Popular Resistance. Let us recognize that accounts of the first Thanksgiving are mythological, and that the holiday is actually a grotesque celebration of our arrogant ethnocentrism built on genocide. Native Americans in the Caribbean greeted their 1492 European invaders with warm hospitality. They were so innocent that Genoan Cristoforo Colombo wrote in his log, They willingly traded everything they owned . . . They do not bear arms . . . They would make fine servants . . . They could easily be made Christians . . . With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want. This meeting set in motion a 500+-year plunder of the Western Hemisphere, which then spread to the remainder of the globe. And it has not stopped! Historian Hans Köning concludes that what sets the West apart is its persistence, its capacity to stop at nothing. Cultural historian Lewis Mumford declared, Wherever Western man went, slavery, land robbery, lawlessness, culture-wrecking, and the outright extermination of both wild beasts and tame men went with him.
From NativeVillage.org. California – From November 20, 1969, to June 11, 1971, Native Americans took over and held Alcatraz Island as Indian Land. The Occupation of Alcatraz Island” was led by the Native American group, Indians of All Tribes (IAT). The take-over lasted 14-months and ended when the Indians were forcibly removed by the federal government. Indians of All Tribes claimed the island by citing the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868) between the U.S. and the Sioux. The treaty returned to Native peoples all retired, abandoned and out-of use federal lands. When Alcatraz penitentiary closed in 1963, the U.S. declared the island as surplus federal property. So Red Power activists reclaimed it. On March 9, 1964, Richard McKenzie and other Sioux occupied Alcatraz for four hours.
By Staff of Indian Country Today – Today is the three-year anniversary of the start of Idle No More. Follow Idle No More. Join the movement.
By Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim for Quartz – In my country, the Republic of Chad, our land has been changing along with the climate, affecting how we support ourselves and produce our food. Areas that had once supported cattle grazing for generations have now become too dry, forcing nomadic herders from their traditional routes to new territories and altering long established land-use patterns. We now rank as a world leader in hunger and conflict, an unsurprising tragedy that has taken place well off of the global stage. But the economic sector that has played a leading role in climate change—the oil and gas industry—also competes for land in Chad, especially in the south of the country.
By Eriel Deranger for Red Pepper – Like many indigenous people in the environmental justice movement I have never considered myself an environmentalist. I am a defender of indigenous rights and a member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) or K’ai Taile Denesuline, the people of the willow, a reference to the Athabasca Delta, in what is now Canada, where my people have lived since time immemorial. My forebears signed a treaty with the government in 1899 to protect and preserve the rights of the Denesuline community but our culture is now in the cross hairs of the largest industrial giga-project on the planet, the Alberta tar sands.
By Heather Denkmire for Bangor Daily News – When I was growing up, manifest destiny was a concept we learned about with pride. The Americans — which we now recognize meant white Europeans — bravely made their way across the continent, turning this wild land into a great country. We learned about Thanksgiving Day as a blissful time of harvest and harmony. We learned about agreements made between the people who lived here, indigenous people, and the new people, mostly white Europeans. Those agreements were called treaties, we learned, and all people involved had a say in the creation of those agreements. On the other hand, we also were taught that white people came to this land and rounded up the native people and made them live on “reservations.”
By Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. San Francisco, CA – After midnight on September 23, the day that Pope Francis canonized Junipero Serra during mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC., unknown activists – reported to be five elder white women – spent the night changing the signs all along Junipero Serra Blvd to “Toypurina” in honor of the Indigenous Shaman,known as the Native American ‘Joan of Arc,’ who led the revolt against Serra. Activists in San Francisco plan to lobby their City Councils to officially rename Junipero Serra streets and parks for Toypurina. Toypurina, who was the daughter of a shaman and a shaman herself, was young when Spanish missionaries and soldiers stole land from her village to build the San Gabriel Mission.
By Julian Brave Noisecat in Huffington Post. Ahead of Pope Francis’ arrival in Philadelphia, indigenous leaders from across the Americas — from the Haudenosaunee Confederacy in upstate New York to the Qom Nation in Argentina and many places in between — have gathered in the city to urge the pontiff to rescind the Doctrine of Discovery, a series of papal bulls from the 15th century that justified European colonization of newly “discovered” lands. One particular papal bull, issued by Pope Nicholas V in 1455, authorized Christian nations “to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all … enemies of Christ,” take their land and “reduce their persons to perpetual slavery.” The doctrine played a central role in centuries of colonization the world over and resulted in immense loss of land and life by indigenous peoples across the Americas.
By Kelsey Erickson for Popular Resistance, Three people have been occupying and fasting at Oak Flat in protest of the land exchange bill that Senator McCain attached to a must-pass military appropriations bill, the National Defense Authorization Act. This bill essentially gave Oak Flat away to one of the largest copper mining corporations in the world, Resolution Copper. This absurdity of this land exchange is not only evident in the fact that Oak Flat is part of federally protected Tonto National Forest, but also in the fact that it denies rights of the Apache Nation to practice cultural traditions at this sacred site. Though the land exchange bill was passed, the Apache-Stronghold is determined to keep the mining megacorporation off their sacred land. They plan to occupy the Oak Flat campground indefinitely to ensure it’s protection.
By Gary Mesker of Peaceful Uprising/Utah Tar Sands Resistance. Utah Tar Sands on the Edge of Destruction by Rogue Corporation. Sobering news; please share widely: United States Oil Sands (USOS) has begun illegally stripping the trees, the soil, the very lives present at Children’s Legacy Camp in Grand County Utah. In a stunning show of contempt for lawful public process today four USOS earth movers are dozing a one mile loop from the Legacy Camp to below the USOS tar/chemical processing plant on Seep Ridge Road to dump the soil and return again and again and again from 6:15 AM ’til 5 PM.
By Lee Camp for Redacted Tonight. As if leaving Native Americans with nothing but miniscule plots of reservation land and systemic brokenness wasn’t enough, now the white man is at it again- robbing the Apache of a sacred ceremonial ground in Oak Flat, Arizona. The US government gave the Apache land to a foreign mining company, saying the native people could still use the grounds for traditional gatherings “after the land exchange has been completed, so long as it remains safe to do so.” The sacred land will unlikely be “safe” for ceremonies once it is functioning as a mine. John McCain and Jeff Flake, major proponents of the land theft, both received hefty contributions from the mining company, Rio Tinto.