Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day of Mourning: Message from Leonard Peltier

24 November 2011

Greetings to all my friends, relations, and supporters.

Well, it's that time of year again, the time when America celebrates its fantasy about Indians and pilgrims. This is truly a day of mourning. So many paid so dear a price so that the People may live.

As an Indian man, this national “day of giving thanks” leaves so much to be desired. Like many of you, I think a seasonal recounting of the truth is in order. Perhaps we can call these truths the seven deadly Indian sins.

Fact-The first documented Thanksgiving was the celebration of an Indian massacre. Ask any Pequot.

Fact-Even the feast that is celebrated was followed by genocide, with those Indian participants and their descendants being virtually wiped out within a generation. Ask any Wampanoag.

Fact-Ninety-eight percent of American Indians, perhaps 150 million of our relations, were killed by the onset of reservation times. This is the largest holocaust in the history of the world.

Fact-Once on the reservation, our children were stolen and sent to boarding schools or adopted out. Many of them were abused. Some were never heard from again.
Fact-Reservation-bound Indian women were commonly sterilized without their knowledge or consent.

Fact-The life span for American Indians continues to be much shorter than for other Americans.

Fact-We continue to live with substandard housing, education, and healthcare.

For this, we're supposed to celebrate? I don’t think so.

If Indians can be so marginalized, it can happen to anyone. We've said this for generations. Now it seems most everyone is feeling colonized.

In a time where corporate greed is so evident and 99 percent are falling behind, and in the Indian tradition of sacrifice, I ask all of you to observe a day of “(Un)thanksgiving”. Fast. Donate your meal to a person in need instead. In this America, there are forgotten people everywhere who could use a good hot meal. Helping others in need is the noblest practice of a truly thankful nation.

If the occupiers of America’s cities could do this, instead of participating in the overindulgence so common to the 1 percent, how much good might be done?

Fasting and praying is a powerful way for all of us to become centered, too.

I remain an Indigenous political prisoner. My sacrifice is for my People. If between the football games and turkey and dressing, you can remember me and those like me, I will be thankful as well.

May Wakan Tanka bless and keep you. Mitakuye Oyasin (All My Relations).

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier

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