Thanksgiving: A National Day of Mourning at Plymouth Rock

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PUBLIC DOMAIN _ Creator: Museum of Photographic Arts

In 1620, the English aboard the Mayflower made their way to Plymouth after making landfall in Provincetown. The Wampanoags watched as women and children got off the boat.

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“You don’t bring your women and children if you’re planning to fight,” said Paula Peters, who also runs her own communications agency called SmokeSygnals.

Peters, a Mashpee Wampanoag who is an author and educator on Native American history, said “we don’t acknowledge the American holiday of Thanksgiving … it’s a marginalization and mistelling of our story.”

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Indigenous people north and south were displaced, died of disease, and were killed by Europeans through slavery, rape, and war. In 1491, about 145 million people lived in the western hemisphere. By 1691, the population of indigenous Americans had declined by 90–95 percent, or by around 130 million people.

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