Published Dec 2, 2009
Statement from Leonard Peltier read by Bert Waters at the 40th
National Day of Mourning, Nov. 26, in Plymouth, Mass.
Greetings and Hoka Hey! I would request everyone who can to stand up
for a few moments. Stand up for our ancestors. Stand up for our
children. Stand up for our country.
To the United American Indians of New England, your supporters, and
people of conscience everywhere: What a great day this is! It's
always good to see our people come together as one mind, especially
at this time. As we have seen for generations, this week and month
American schools will be teaching students the myth of the pilgrims
and Indians celebrating the first Thanksgiving. Children will be
cutting out paper headbands and "woo-wooing" as they think Indians
donever thinking about the real Indians who suffered an immigrant
onslaught, or the Indians still here. This process continues the
Americans' bad habit of ignoring or falsifying their own history. I
know it is easier to teach a fairy tale than to teach that the first
Thanksgiving was a celebration of the massacre of defenseless Indian
people, but facts are facts and this country needs to get them straight!
American families will be gathering and eating too much turkey and
watching football, oblivious to an ongoing struggle for American
Indian sovereignty and self-determination. While it's always a good
idea for people to come together and celebrate, we Indians offer a
caution: Those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it, or
have it righteously inflicted upon them! So overeaters beware! You
never know when your wars, your bigotry, your poisonsyour whole
legacywill come back to haunt you! While you gorge yourself, we will
celebrate today as a day of mourning and fasting for our ancestors
and our land. We know the observation comes before the feast.
As an activist and political prisoner here in the "land of the free,"
I respect and support the mission of UAINE. You, as well as the
American Indian Movement and Indian people of various organizations,
have pursued honorable goals even when you got beaten and oppressed
for doing so. We as Indian people must never let this country or the
world forget that we were here. In your area specifically,
Wampanoags, Narragansetts and others flourished in harmony with the
land and sea. We thrived. We welcomed outsiders and they survived
only through our generosity. For our troubles we suffered unjust
wars, had our lands stolen, received disease-infested blankets, and
continue to experience treaty violations. You are at ground zero of
our genocide. You are patient zero.
I know you will never forget or allow others to forget the real
history of America. Let them sit on Plymouth Rock until they see the
errors of their ways! Stay united! Stay committed to the struggle!
Never give up the fight! We were here! We are still here! We will
always be here! Shout it with meHOKA HEY! Mitakuye Oyasin!
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, Leonard Peltier