Madama, Occupied Palestine – Earlier today, November 28th, a group of Israeli illegal settlers, in the presence of three Israeli soldiers, threatened to burn down a family in the village of Madama, occupied West Bank.
At noon, 25 settlers from the nearby settlement of Yitzhar trespassed the land of the Palestinian village Madama. Once they had reached the outskirts of the village they started yelling and threatening a family.
The family, which previously had problems with settlers from Yitzhar, includes 9 children and an additional child is expected within two months.
The settlers, some of whom were armed with rifles, were standing within 100-150 metres from the family’s house when they were yelling at the family. The illegal settlers were threatening the family with facing the same end as the Dawasheh family, referring to a previous attack this year where a settler firebombed a Palestinian family. 18 month old Ali Dawasheh was burned alive and both his parents later succumbed from the arson attack, leaving 4 year old Ahmed as the only surviving member of the family.
The settlers today also yelled at the family that they would be the next Mohammed Abu Khdeir. Mohammed was only 16 years old when he was kidnapped outside his house in the neighborhood of Shuafat, East Jerusalem. The kidnappers, later found out to be Jewish Israeli nationalists, beat him up and forced him to drink gasoline before finally burning him alive, from the inside out.
After today’s attack, the family in Madama is feeling even more insecure. Due to repeated attacks by the settlers the family recently got founding from the authorities to put up a barb wire fence, surrounding the house. And the father of the family has put a cover on the windows to protect his family from potential rocks thrown by the settlers.
RAMALLAH – At least 67 Palestinians were shot by Israeli military forces during ongoing clashes across the occupied Palestinian territory, the Palestinian Red Crescent said Friday.
A Red Crescent spokesperson told Ma’an that 16 Palestinians were injured by live bullets, as well as two by rubber-coated steel bullets in the Gaza Strip.
Five of those injured by live fire were shot when clashes erupted near the Nahal Oz crossing east of Gaza City, one of whom was shot in the chest and left in critical condition, according to a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, Ashraf al-Qidra.
Several others were injured in the besieged enclave when Palestinians demonstrated in areas north of Khan Younis, demanding the return of Palestinian bodies currently held by Israel, witnesses told Ma’an.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that “multiple violent riots took place near the security fence” between the Gaza Strip and Israel, where Israeli forces used “riot dispersal means” to deter participants attempting to break through the security fence.
The spokesperson said that the forces opened fire on demonstrators after ignoring calls by the forces for the participants to halt.
Palestinians in the Ramallah district meanwhile staged a demonstration near Israel’s Ofer detention center, where medics told Ma’an that Israeli forces opened fire on protesters.
One of those shot by live fire was left in critical condition, medics said, adding that dozens of others suffered from tear gas inhalation.
A total of 22 injuries by live fire were reported from the occupied West Bank, the Red Crescent spokesperson told Ma’an, as well as 27 injured by rubber-coated steel bullets and over a hundred who were treated for tear-gas inhalation.
In Hebron, 14 Palestinians were hit with live bullets, and 10 with rubber-coated steel bullets, the Red Crescent said, adding that Israeli forces targeted an ambulance with tear gas, shattering its windshield.
In Kafr Qaddum near Qalqiliya, Qaisar Jihad,13, and Hamza Mutei, 22, were shot in the legs and lightly injured after Israeli forces trapped protesters and opened fire, according to a spokesperson for the village’s popular resistance committee, Murad Shtewei.
In the village of Bilin in the Ramallah district, locals told Ma’an that photojournalist Hamdi Abu Rahma was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the thigh as Israeli forces fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinian demonstrators.
Over 10,300 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli forces since Oct. 1, not including those injured by Israeli settlers.
Around 160 Israelis have been injured by Palestinian individuals during the same time period, according to documentation by the UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs.
As the world commemorates the United Nations’ International Day for Solidarity with Palestinians, it is important to remember that many countries in Latin America have been some of the most vocal supporters of Palestine and its people.
On several occasions Palestinian officials have expressed their gratitude to Latin American countries for their support, which at times is larger than support from neighboring Arab nations.
This support is translated through opening borders for Palestinian refugees and students, hosting high-level officials from Palestine as well as continually condemning the harsh treatment of Israel towards the Palestinian people through occupation, human rights violations, settlement construction and open discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Last year, Palestinian Ambassador to Caracas Linda Sobeh Ali speaking to Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said: “You and the people of Latin America have shown us more support than some of our Arab brothers. Thank you.”
1 – Syrian and Palestinian refugees welcomed by Argentina
In September 2015, Argentina government announced that Syrian and Palestinian refugees were welcome into the country at a time when European nations were militarizing its borders to deter entry to thousands of people fleeing the war-torn country. Refugees would receive a two-year residence permit as soon as they arrive into the country.
2 – Latin America united in support for Palestinians during Israel’s war on Gaza
In August, Latin American leaders harshly condemned the Israeli government over its 50-day war against Gaza in summer 2014, including Rafael Correa of Ecuador, Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, and Evo Morales of Bolivia. Several countries in the region downgraded relations with Israel, while others recalled ambassadors.
3 – Venezuela hosts congress on Palestinian Right of Return April 2015
In April 2015 Venezuela hosted the first Latin American Congress of the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine, being held until Friday in the capital of Caracas. The campaign was founded two years ago as an effort to coordinate the work of Palestinian solidarity activists at a global level. It gives particular attention to demand for the right-of-return of Palestinians who were forcibly displaced by militant Zionists during the foundation of the state of Israel.
4 – Chile hosts PLO official in a 5-day visit to strengthen ties with Palestine
In August 2015, Palestinian Liberation Organization official Saeb Erekat took a five-day visit to Chile where he visited the Arab School in Santiago, met with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, the foreign minister, as well as representatives of the Jewish community in Chile. Chile is home to more than 400,000 Palestinians and Palestinian descendants.
5 – A ‘Song for Palestine’ solidarity event in Ecuador
In July 2014, social organizations of Ecuador convened on to present “A song for Palestine”, an expression of solidarity with the Palestinian people in the face of attacks by the Israeli Defense Force against the Palestinian people in Gaza.
BRUSSELS – The Palestinian Forum in Europe—Tawasol—on Thursday called on the world’s states and the European Union to take serious steps to put an end to Israel’s terrorism against the Palestinian people.
A statement issued by the Palestinian Forum in Europe on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People condemned the dramatic surge in the Israeli crimes and violations of Palestinians’ human rights.
The group said a serious pro-Palestine standpoint should be opted for by the world’s governments to urge the Israeli occupation to abide by international legitimacy and withdraw from the occupied territories.
Head of the Tawasol Forum, Zaher Birawi, said a campaign is expected to kick off sometime soon to reach out to the world’s governments, parliaments and European MPs in order to mobilize support for the Palestinian cause.
The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is observed by the United Nations on or around 29 November each year, in accordance with General Assembly mandates contained in resolutions 32/40 B of 2 December 1977, 34/65 D of 12 December 1979, and subsequent resolutions adopted under agenda item “Question of Palestine.”
The Zionist entity will inaugurate for the first time an official diplomatic mission in Abu Dhabi in the coming weeks, Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, reported on Friday.
The daily quoted a senior Israeli official as saying on condition of anonymity that the new legation will be officially accredited to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which is based in Abu Dhabi.
Haaretz added that the director-general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Dore Gold, visited Abu Dhabi on Tuesday to participate in the biannual meeting of IRENA’s Council.
“The meeting was to discuss the future activities and budgetary issues pertaining to the organization’s members, but the main purpose of the trip was to finalize the opening of the mission. During the three days of his visit, Gold met with IRENA Director-General Adnan Amin and discussed with him the opening of the mission,” the daily said.
A senior official in al-Quds (Jerusalem) said that diplomat Rami Hatan has been appointed to head the Israeli legation, and will depart for Abu Dhabi in the near future, the report said.
The official added that “office space for the new mission has already been found and that it is undergoing final preparations before the formal opening.”
Greece’s center-left government seeks stronger ties with Israel, calls Jerusalem “historic capital” of Israel
Greece is looking to work with Israel on developing the latter’s energy industry and transporting natural gas across Europe, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told reporters after a meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu.
“One of the main issues in our talks were the opportunities arising in the fields of energy, the fields of energy in the East Mediterranean,” said Tsipras. “We are considering ways on cooperation in research, drilling and transportation of gas from Israel to Europe,.”
The recent discovery of a large offshore gas reserves close to the city of Haifa could turn Israel from a consumer into a supplier of natural energy.
Tsipras also met with President Reuven Rivlin during his first trip to Israel, with the two discussing the threat of terrorism.
“ISIS is not only in Syria and Iraq, but spreading to the whole western world, who must take responsibility and say that we cannot live in a world in which ISIS exists,” Rivlin said at a joint press conference.
While in Jerusalem for the meeting with Rivlin, Tsipras wrote in the president’s guest book that it was a “great honor to be in your historic capital and to meet your excellencies.” The comment was significant given that most countries do not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. A former Israeli diplomat called the move “unprecedented, especially for a European leader.”
The NATO attack on a Russian military jet on Tuesday November 24, using the Turkish air force to do its dirty work, is a dangerous act of war against Russia with very dangerous consequences for the world. The murder of one of the pilots, shot by ISIS terrorists while parachuting to the ground, is a war crime for which Turkey and the NATO countries are collectively responsible. President Putin has rightly called it a stab in the back by Turkey, a betrayal that cannot be forgiven and will forever be remembered.
If anyone ever doubted that the joint criminal enterprise called NATO was supporting and directing the terrorist groups in Syria, the same groups, they claim, that conducted the attacks in Paris and on the Russian airliner over Sinai, they now have the proof. Can there be any doubt that this attack on Russian forces in Syria is intended to disrupt the Russian-Syrian campaign against those NATO supported terrorist groups? Can there be any doubt that if they are willing to shoot down one Russian aircraft they are willing to shoot down more? Can there be any doubt that this attack is intended to push Russia to react with counter force against Turkey resulting in a claim by NATO that it is under attack, resulting in a general war?
This attack is intended to both test Russian resolve in Syria and to provoke it into a reaction that will be used to justify further military actions by the Turkish and US military forces against the Russian forces. It was preceded by hysterical claims by NATO leaders that Russia and the Syrian government are the reasons ISIS exists and calling for action against both. It was preceded by the sudden appearance of the refugee crisis in Europe and then the attacks in Sinai and Paris and the constant fear raising alerts in Belgium, Germany, Britain and the United States.
Just days before this attack, Russia was subjected to the sabotage of the electric power lines connecting Crimea with the Ukraine electricity grid that the Kiev regime has not attempted to repair, cutting off power to Crimea at the same time as shelling of the Donbass republics increased, accompanied by a build up of Kiev forces in the region. Who would be surprised if Crimea also found itself subject to further sabotage and then shelling by the Kiev forces pushing Russia on this front as well, to react to defend its territory, again testing its resolve?
The only reaction from the NATO countries on Tuesday was to call an emergency meeting and it has to be asked if they knew this attack was coming since none of the NATO leaders has so far condemned Turkey’s action and it is logical to assume that the order for the attack came from Washington, desperate to save its terrorist proxy forces in Syria from being annihilated by the joint Syrian-Russian campaign against ISIS. No doubt the order was to seek a target of opportunity, bring it down, and see what happens, what Russia will do in response.
Whatever Russia does it will be serious but necessarily measured in order to avoid a general war in the Middle East. But act it will.
The New York Times, the journal that speaks for the American ruling class and intelligence services, on the same day as the shoot down, ran an opinion piece by former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the aggressive John Bolton, who clearly defined the American strategy in Syria and Iraq. He wrote:
“Today’s reality is that Iraq and Syria as we have known them are gone. The Islamic State has carved out a new entity from the post-Ottoman Empire settlement, mobilizing Sunni opposition to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and the Iran-dominated government of Iraq. Also emerging, after years of effort, is a de facto independent Kurdistan. If, in this context, defeating the Islamic State means restoring to power Mr. Assad in Syria and Iran’s puppets in Iraq, that outcome is neither feasible nor desirable. Rather than striving to recreate the post-World War I map, Washington should recognize the new geopolitics. The best alternative to the Islamic State in northeastern Syria and western Iraq is a new, independent Sunni state.”
“Creating an American-led anti-Islamic State alliance instead of Moscow’s proposed coalition will require considerable diplomatic and political effort. American ground combat forces will have to be deployed to provide cohesion and leadership. But this would be necessary to defeat the Islamic State even if the objective were simply to recreate the status quo ante.”
“This Sunni state proposal differs sharply from the vision of the Russian-Iranian axis and its proxies (Hezbollah, Mr. Assad and Tehran-backed Baghdad). Their aim of restoring Iraqi and Syrian governments to their former borders is a goal fundamentally contrary to American, Israeli and friendly Arab state interests. Notions, therefore, of an American-Russian coalition against the Islamic State are as undesirable as they are glib.
In Syria, Moscow wants to dominate the regime (with or without Mr. Assad) and safeguard Russia’s Tartus naval base and its new Latakia air base. Tehran wants a continuing Alawite supremacy, with full protection for Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria.
As for Iraq, Russia and Iran want the Sunni territories returned to Baghdad’s control, reinforcing Iran’s regional influence. They may wish for the same in Kurdistan, but they lack the capability there. Sunnis today support the Islamic State for many of the same reasons they once supported Al Qaeda in Iraq — as a bulwark against being ruled by Tehran via Baghdad. Telling these Sunni people that their reward for rising against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq will be to put them back in thrall to Mr. Assad and his ilk, or to Shiite-dominated Baghdad, will simply intensify their support for the jihadists. Why would they switch sides? This is why, after destroying the Islamic State, America should pursue the far-reaching goal of creating a new Sunni state. Though difficult in the near term, over time this is more conducive to regional order and stability.”
So there we have it, the plan by Washington and its dependencies to continue their aggression against Syria and Iraq in order to create a new state serving its interests and wrecking the strategic interests of Russia and Iran. This is a statement of intent to carry out a war of aggression against sovereign states, members of the United Nations, in complete defiance of and contempt for the United Nations Charter, and all international law and humanity. It matters not to them how many innocents are slaughtered in the process. They know no morality, have no conscience.
The shooting down of the Russian jet, the murder of its officers is in the logic of this madness. And how long will it be before a French fighter jet shoots down a Russian jet as well, claiming it was too close to them and further escalating the situation?
Can Russia trust the French after the Mistral Affair, the refusal by the French, to deliver two naval ships bought and paid for by Russia in order to sabotage Russian strategic interests, and after they learned that the French aircraft carrier was already on its way to the region before the Paris attack; giving credence to the strong possibility that the attack in Paris, and the bombing of the Russian airliner, were Gladio style NATO operations with the blame shifted to their assets in ISIS? No one in NATO can be trusted except to commit every crime and to cut every thread that weaves civilization together.
The world watches and waits for the next phase of this war, a war which is developing with breathtaking rapidity into a world war in which all of us will suffer. Hopes for peace in our time have vanished along with the humanity required to achieve it. The anti-NATO, anti-war movement has not developed as we hoped and those who are engaged in the effort now risk arrest and worse as accomplices of ‘terrorism.’ All I can say is prepare yourselves as best you can for what is coming, and try to resist, try to speak out, and try to hold the flame of civilization aloft as long as you can.
Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto, he is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and he is known for a number of high-profile cases involving human rights and war crimes.
Hebron, occupied Palestine – Sunday 22nd November 2015, two international solidarity activists were arrested by Israeli forces on the claim of ‘staying in a closed military zone’ in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron).
One German human rights defender passed a checkpoint manned with a group of half a dozen soldiers with two Palestinians and another international. They were not stopped on their way by the soldiers and were allowed to pass without any problems. After visiting a house in the neighbourhood however, they were immediately stopped by soldiers when stepping on the street only twenty minutes later. Soldiers immediately questioned them about what they were doing and ordered them to walk down the hill instead of up, the direction they were headed. When the internationals asked for a reason, soldiers called the police, but allowed the Palestinians in the group to leave. An American activist was also allowed to leave as she was Jewish, whereas the German was detained by the soldiers and not allowed to leave. According to the soldiers, the detained activist was ‘the reason for everything bad in the world’ and ‘should go to Syria’ to die there ‘as the world would be a better place without her.’
Another group of internationals was going to a shop in the same neighbourhood. The three of them were yelled at by soldiers, and one out of the group was ordered to come towards the soldiers whereas the other two were ordered to leave immediately or they would be arrested. Even though in the beginning the international argued that then she would be entering a closed military zone, which she wasn’t allowed to do, soldiers kept insisting. In the end the French activist did approach the soldiers as they kept requesting her to do so – only to be arrested for entering a ‘closed military zone.’
Both the French and German activists were held at the Givat Ha’vot police station in the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba for in total nine hours. In contrast to two Palestinian prisoners held at the police station, they were treated well. One Palestinian youth, only 18-years old had been at the police station for already 16 hours when the internationals were taken there. He was visibly shaken and told the internationals that he will be taken to Ofer prison. Another Palestinian youth, about 16 years old, was walked past the internationals hand- and foot-shackled, visibly in great pain, trying to hold his stomach while walking bent over in extreme pain. No medical aid was given to him, instead he was forced to sit on the ground outside.
At one point, everyone including the two Palestinian youths, the two internationals and an Israeli prisoner were made to leave the only at least slightly heated room and forced to sit outside in the cold for about an hour as soldiers and police were bringing food and drinks and were audibly enjoying having a good time inside. Any requests for blankets or being allowed back inside were completely ignored or denied. When the internationals asked for food they were only given some bread and a tomato.
The Israeli settler, clearly phsycologically disturbed, kept talking about the ghosts talking to him, all because of a spell that a Rabbi put on him. Still, he was released after a few hours. The two internationals were released after about 9 hours only when agreeing to sign conditions barring them from the ‘Tel Rumeida area’ of al-Khalil for 15 days. Even though they were released in the middle of the night around 2 o’clock they were denied staying in their respective homes as they are in the area signed for. Unfortunately, nothing is known so far about the two Palestinian youths held at the police station. What can be said for sure though is that in Israeli military courts they will not even have the chance of a fair trail or anything at least distantly related to justice.
Silwan, Jerusalem — The occupation municipality issued a ticket to s Jerusalemite merchant under the pretext of finding an ashtray inside his store in the neighborhood of Ras Al-Amoud in Silwan.
Wadi Hilweh Information Center was informed that the occupation municipality raided several commercial stores in Silwan especially in the neighborhoods of Ras Al-Amoud, Bi’er Ayoub and Ein Al-Lozeh and checked stores’ and establishments’’ permits and asked the owners to follow-up with the competent departments.
The center added that municipality crews raided a fruits’ store in Ras Al-Amoud owned by Izz Eddin Abdelrahim Barbar and issued him a 5-thousand NIS ticket under the pretext of the presence of an ashtray on the stores’ table. They also issued another person a 1,000-NIS fine for smoking inside the store.
Barbar explained that he tax authority crew raided his store on Tuesday while he was buying merchandise for his store and issued a 5-thousand NIS ticket under his name and a 1,000-NIS fine for another man for smoking.
Barbar said: “The daily harassment against Jerusalemite merchants including raiding stores and randomly issuing tickets falls within the “strict” policy practiced against merchants”.
The center also added that the occupation forces raided several residential houses in the neighborhood of Ein Al-Lozeh under the pretext of looking for stone-throwers. They ascended some roofs and randomly fired rubber bullets in the area; they also took pictures of several houses.
Locals of Silwan complained about the police deployment in the streets of the village, random establishments of checkpoints, searching vehicles and checking young men’s IDs which create heavy traffic jams.
Hebron, Occupied Palestine – In Qaitun, a Palestinian Neighborhood of Hebron, situated in Oslo-defined Area H2, Israel has the authority for administrative and security control.
Israeli administrative control results in Apartheid: Palestinians will never get permission for doing anything, as building, extending or repairing their houses, and all other sort of things. Israeli citizens get permission for almost everything they want in occupied Hebron H2.
Israeli security control results in the abuse of many human rights including extrajudicial executions and using the Palestinian neighborhoods for military training – as today.
Three teams of at least seventeen soldiers each, invaded several Palestinian homes on a random basis, and detaining the family. They went inside the house to the rooftop and tried observation and shooing possibilities from there. After some 15 minutes they went down again for raiding another home.
Most of these soldiers looked very young as if they were barely out of high school. They were heavily armed and many appeared to be nervous. This could have led to an extremely dangerous risk to Palestinians and anyone else near their training exercise.
A trainer, sided by a personal bodyguard, instructed them how to invade houses and do other military things as stopping civilians and cars in this Palestinian neighborhood.
In the three hour training they invaded more than 20 homes.
As Thanksgiving approaches, many schools throughout the U.S. are making preparations for the standard, and all too cliché, Thanksgiving Day lessons, and fairy tale-esque Thanksgiving plays.
And more often than not, the school Thanksgiving activities are largely based on what ultimately amounts to myth, created to serve the imaginations of the dominant society, and simultaneously functioning to erase the tragedies of Indigenous nations.
The myth usually goes a little something like this:
Pilgrims came to America, in order to escape religious persecution in England. Living conditions proved difficult in the New World, but thanks to the friendly Indian, Squanto, the pilgrims learned to grow corn, and survive in unfamiliar lands. It wasn’t long before the Indians and the pilgrims became good friends. To celebrate their friendship and abundant harvest, Indians in feathered headbands joined together with the pilgrims and shared in a friendly feast of turkey and togetherness. Happy Thanksgiving. The End.
From this account, the unsuspecting child might assume a number of things. Firstly, they may assume that pilgrims merely settled the New World, innocently, and as a persecuted people, they arrived to America with pure and altruistic intentions. Secondly, children might assume, and rightfully so, that Indians and pilgrims were friends, and that this friendship must have laid the framework for this “great American nation.”
So, what exactly is the harm in this school-sanctioned account of history? Understandably, the untrained eye may not notice the harm in such a myth, as most Americans are victim to the same whitewashed lie as the rest, and dismantling a centuries-old myth certainly does prove challenging.
But the first lesson for educators and adults to digest is the fact that this narrative is egregiously whitewashed and Eurocentric on many levels. Moreover, it is a lie, which serves to rob American children of valuable historical lessons.
Truth be told, this beloved lie was packaged solely for nationalistic consumption when, following the bloody Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863. Back then, Americans were desperately in need of unity and inspiration. Hence, the myth of the first Thanksgiving was born to inspire and unite.
Beyond the myth, and the seemingly good intentions of Abraham Lincoln (who actually despised Indians) the actual story of pilgrims and indigenous people went down much differently.
As a social science educator, I strongly advocate for the unabridged study of human history; for the many valuable lessons imbedded in the stories of our past. Changing any story, essentially, means short-changing American society from some extremely valuable lessons – lessons that function to plant the seeds of social consciousness and humanitarian evolution.
So let’s take a look at a different version of history; a fuller version, and hopefully, extract some meaningful lessons from our shared past:
One day, the Wampanoag people of the Eastern coast of the Americas noticed unfamiliar people in their homelands. These unfamiliar people were English pilgrims, coming to a new land which they dubbed “America,” in order to settle and create a new life.
The Wampanoag were initially uneasy with the settlers, but they eventually engaged in a shaky relationship of commerce and exchange. Also, in observing that the pilgrims nearly died from a harsh winter, the Wampanoag stepped in to help.
The Wampanoag chief, Massasoit, eventually entered into agreements with the pilgrims, and, on behalf of the Wampanoag Nation, decided to be allies while each nation coexisted in the same space together. At one time, the Wampanoag and pilgrims shared in a meal of wildfowl, deer, and shellfish.
After Massasoit’s death, the Wampanoag nation became weakened as a result of disease contracted from the English. It wasn’t long before the pilgrims began tormenting surrounding tribes, burning entire villages to the ground, while indigenous men, women, and children lie sleeping.
Uneasy with the growing cruelty, greed, and arrogance of the new people in their homelands, the Wampanoag began to distrust the pilgrims. The pilgrims soon demanded that the Wampanoag submit to them, and give up all their weapons.
Shortly after, the pilgrims and Wampanoag were at war, and in the end, the pilgrims rose victorious. At the close of the war, the Wampanoag were nearly decimated, and the son of Chief Massasoit, Metacom, was killed by the pilgrims, dismembered, beheaded, and his head impaled on a spear outside of Plymouth. Metacom’s young son was sent to the West Indies as a slave, along with numerous other Wampanoag and surrounding tribes.
A day of Thanksgiving was declared, and to celebrate, the pilgrims kicked the heads of dead Indigenous peoples around like soccer balls. (This was not the end … )
As indigenous nations throughout America were continually betrayed by European settlers, killed by disease, germ warfare, hunted for bounties, sent overseas as slaves, and ultimately pushed out of their homelands and onto prison camps (now commonly known as reservations), few survived the depressing conditions. As a result of centuries of historical trauma, indigenous nations today have staggering rates of depression, mental health disparities, suicide, and deaths due to alcohol and drugs. Indigenous people continue to struggle to cope with historical trauma, and heal deeply embedded wounds which stem directly from colonialism. This, still, is not the end.
The lessons to be gained from the truths of history are many, and conversely, those lessons are lost in whitewashed myths.
While glossing over the very real consequences of colonialism, the mythical version of Thanksgiving creates a fairy tale of land theft, betrayal, brutality, and genocide, virtually functioning to erase the very real and traumatic experiences of entire indigenous nations. This phenomena of whitewashing and outright erasure of indigenous history, in many instances, is not only inhumane and oppressive to the indigenous people, but it is also unfair to all Americans who stand to learn from rich and equally tragic history.
Without question, colonialism is great for the colonizer, and disastrous for the colonized. Colonization reduces entire populations, and leaves generational wounds that linger stubbornly for centuries. This is a lesson that all Americans must heed.
As a result of propagating the mythical version of Thanksgiving, American children and adults alike, become confused about history, and moreover the Thanksgiving lie outright prevents a collective American understanding of the contemporary struggles of Native American people today.
Without understanding the 500 years of colonial impact on indigenous people, scores of bigoted attitudes have emerged, as Americans cannot seem to wrap their heads around the many struggles of tribal communities today that stem directly from colonization.
To be sure, the Thanksgiving myth has many consequences, and aside from breeding ignorance and reinforcing bigotry, the myth silences the already marginalized indigenous people, who desperately need to hear, share, and tell our story as a part of the healing process.
It is time to let go of the myth and embrace truth, and we must start in schools, where young children look to their teachers with inquisitive eyes as the all-knowing authorities.
As educational institutions, schools must be progressive in bravely moving toward truth, while moving away from any semblance of ongoing myth-sanctioning.
This change is long overdue, and all of our children deserve truth, meaningful lessons, and a robust dose of humanitarian development. And the great news is: our entire world stands to benefit from it.
Depending on the age of students, different degrees of the story can and should be told. Educators can find ideas here.
And conversely, the myth, the school plays, and the story of happy Indians and friendly pilgrims needs to be abandoned, wholesale. This leveling out of myth creates space for new conversations and lessons of unity, and deeper understandings of what it truly means to be a good human being, and that is something to be thankful for.
Sarah Sunshine Manning (Shoshone-Paiute, Chippewa-Cree) is a mother, educator, activist, and an advocate for youth. Follow her at @SarahSunshineM.