And as documented in “A Woman of Courage on the West Virginia Frontier” by Robert Thompson, the militiamen, before murdering the males and females, “dragged the women and girls out into the snow and systematically raped them.”
By the way, the murders of the men, women and children as well as the rapes of the women and girls occurred despite the fact that all of those so-called Indians had previously and publicly converted to Christianity. And the white militiamen knew that.
Keep in mind that the racist genocide didn’t end in 1782. Its tragic residue remains to this very day.
It was 401 years ago on Nov. 9, 1621, (or as early as Sept. 21 as some scholars have determined) in Plymouth, Mass., when Pilgrims from England supposedly celebrated their first so-called Thanksgiving feast with the Wampanoag Nation a year after their arrival on the land of those Indigenous people.
Tragically, those trusting Wampanoag men, women and children had no idea that the unimaginable hell of widespread death and massive land robbery would soon follow.
When the Pilgrims arrived on the Mayflower in 1620, they didn’t bring thanks. They didn’t even give thanks. Instead, they brought racist genocide and gave nothing.
And they eventually succeeded in mass killing and mass land robbery not because they were smarter or stronger but because they were genocidal racists who, in addition to committing many other crimes against humanity, initiated the use of a weapon of mass destruction that previously had been unheard of on this land.
Howard N. Simpson, M.D., author of “Invisible Armies: The Impact of Disease on American History,” points out that “The Europeans were able to conquer America not because of their military genius or their religious motivation or their ambition or [even] their greed. They conquered it by waging… biological warfare.”
J. Leitch Wright Jr., in “The Only Land They Knew,” notes that “In 1623, the British indulged in the first use of chemical warfare in the colonies when negotiating a treaty with tribes, headed by Chief Chiskiac, near the Potomac River. The British offered a toast symbolizing ‘eternal friendship,’ whereupon the chief, his family, advisors, and two hundred followers dropped dead of poison.”
The New England Historical Society confirms that “About 60,000 ‘Indians’ lived in [New England, i.e.,] New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut at the beginning of the 17th century….. [And] according to some estimates, Maine had more than 20,000 Penobscot, Micmac, and Passamaquoddy ‘Indians.’ A century later, New England’s ‘Indian’ population began to disappear. Some tribes were already extinct.”
In a 1763 letter to a colleague, Sir Jeffrey Amherst, a high-ranking British military officer, not only suggested using vicious wild dogs to hunt down native men, women and children – which was wickedly done – but also suggested using diseased blankets on native men, women and children when he wrote: “Could it not be contrived to send Small Pox among those disaffected tribes of Indians? We must on this occasion use every stratagem in our power to reduce them.”
And that’s exactly what he and other whites did.
Here are five historically undeniable facts you should know about Thanksgiving so you won’t make the mistake of unknowingly and unintentionally celebrating racist genocide:
1. Amy Jakober, the senior communications officer for the First Nations Development Institute, explains that “Narratives of a harmonious Thanksgiving celebration were created to justify westward expansion and Manifest Destiny,” which was a central tenet in the murderously racist white supremacy myth that European settlers were destined by God to kill native people and take their land.
2. The First Nations (and there were at least 500 of them on this land they called Turtle Island) were inhabited by people accurately and generally known as the Onkwehonwe whose ancestors had been in the so-called New World for approximately 14,000 years.
3. In a seminal book entitled “Lies My Teacher Told Me,” history professor James W. Loewen writes, “The Pilgrims did not introduce the tradition [of Thanksgiving]…. ‘Indians’ had observed autumnal harvest celebrations for centuries. Although George Washington … [in 1789 did issue a proclamation setting aside November 26] as a national day of thanksgiving, [America’s] … modern celebration dates back only to 1863. During the Civil War, when the Union needed all the patriotism that such an observance might muster, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday.”
4. Another researcher and author, Richard Greener, asserts that May 26, 1637, could be considered the first European so-called Thanksgiving on this land because Massachusetts Bay Colony Governor John Winthrop proclaimed that date as a “day of thanksgiving” to celebrate the victory of a gang of heavily armed Puritans who had just slaughtered 700 innocent Pequot “Indians” in what is now known as Mystic, Connecticut.
5. Shortly after the Pilgrims (and later the Puritans in 1630) invaded this land and throughout the history of the United States, our native brothers and sisters were slaughtered by the millions as a result of racist, genocidal terrorism in the form of biological warfare, torture, rape, murder, land robbery and colonization. One of many examples of such genocidal terrorism was Senate Bill 102 signed by President Andrew “Indian Killer” Jackson in 1830 and known as the “Indian” Removal Act. It resulted in the gruesome “Trail of Tears” wherein approximately 100,000 Indigenous men, women and children suffered the trail’s tortuous tribulations and possibly as many as 30 percent of them died along the way from shootings, beatings, starvation, dysentery, whooping cough, cholera in the summer, pneumonia in the winter and exposure to extreme weather conditions. Also, this genocidal legislation robbed our brothers and sisters of more than 25 million acres of fertile farmland in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee and elsewhere.
The tragic residue of the horrific plight that began 401 years ago continues to exist in 2022. That explains why, as many scholars point out, the racist U.S. Supreme Court at the request of the racist states of Texas, Louisiana and Indiana in the Brackeen v. Haaland case is on the verge of taking native children from their native families, taking native people’s land rights and taking native people’s tribal sovereignty.
It also explains why Alan Taylor in “American Colonies – History of the United States Series” points out that most scholars in this field believe there were about 50 million indigenous people living in what is now the U.S. and Canada prior to European colonization. The 2020 U.S. Census indicates there are about 9.7 million natives currently living in the U.S., and Canada’s 2021 census indicates it has 1.8 million Indigenous people, about 5.0% of the total population in Canada. The sharp decline in the Indigenous population over 401 years illustrates the efficiency of the colonizer’s “Final Solution.”
In addition, it explains why, as reported at powwows.com (a website that is described as “The world’s greatest resource for ‘Native American’ learning”), about 33% of all U.S. natives live in poverty; why there are over 90,000 under-housed or homeless Native Americans; and why over a third of Indigenous Americans are largely concentrated on reservations with over 700,000 inhabitants.
If you do decide to join your family by coming together on the fourth Thursday of November, please don’t call it Thanksgiving. But if you do decide to call it Thanksgiving and celebrate it as white America traditionally does, just think about what happened to native men and boys – and especially those native women and girls – during the Gnadenhutten Massacre. And while you’re thinking about that, look into the eyes of your mother, your daughter, your sister, and your niece.
This column was first published by the Philadelphia Tribune, a publishing partner of the Pennsylvania Capital-Star.