BY KEVIN ‘RASHID’ JOHNSON
It’s interesting how history is whitewashed. Many of it’s most horrendous crimes are not just concealed, but often repackaged as benevolent and honorable deeds to be commemorated and celebrated. Thanksgiving is an example.
The true history of Thanksgiving is very different from the false story we’re taught in American schools and through mainstream channels. The first unofficial Thanksgiving occurred in 1621 following the pilgrims’ surviving their first harsh winter in Plymouth, thanks to Indian advice and help. There was no big loving relationship between the pilgrims and the Narragansett, Pequot and Wampanoag Indians. Not on the pilgrims’ part anyway. The pilgrims had actually built an eleven foot high wall around the Plymouth settlement to keep the Indians out. And just a few days before the feast, Miles Standish, one of the leading pilgrims, led a group of pilgrims on an expedition to kill a local Indian chief. The Indians who were on hand during that first unofficial Thanksgiving were actually neither invited nor welcomed.
Thanksgiving as an official holiday came into being sixteen years later in 1637. And again, it wasn’t a holiday to celebrate any loving relationship between the European settlers and the Indians who’d done so much to help them survive in rugged North Amerika. This first official Thanksgiving Day was declared by John Winthrop, governor of Massachusetts Bay colony, to celebrate the return of the colony’s men from an expedition in which they participated in the massacre of over 700 Pequot children, wimyn and men, in what is now Mystic, Connecticut. Winthrop officially declared and dedicated this holiday to give thanks for this so-called victory in mass-murdering a defenceless Indian community.
Glamorizing these sorts of crimes by distorting and erasing their true histories, set the stage for whitewashing and erasing from modern memory two of history’s greatest crimes. Crimes that created these United States and its monopoly capitalist political economy. The first being the deliberate genocidal murders of over a hundred million Native Americans, destruction of their cultures and lifestyles, the early enslavement of many, and the continued forced confinement for over a century of those who sought to hold onto their heritage and cultures in concentration camps, euphemistically called reservations. The Natives confined to these concentration camps are left to a slow deterioration with casinos and alcohol supplied to aid in their distraction and destruction.
Likewise, the second greatest whitewashed crime of Amerika was the murders of over fifty million Afrikans in our brutal forced transport away from our native lands and to the Amerikas, to serve as slave laborers that cultivated, enriched and indeed built Amerika on this stolen land; the destruction of our cultures, heritage and histories; the systematic rapes of the Black femyl slaves and domestic servants (wimyn and girls); and our subsequent forced migrations into urban refugee camps to serve as super-cheap laborers, where we remain confined, euphemistically called the “hood.” The Blacks/New Afrikans who are today concentrated in the urban centers are, like the reservation Indians, left to a slow deterioration, but instead with the club and dope to aid our distraction and destruction.
Before there was an Underground Railroad, freedom for many enslaved Afrikans was found within the Indian and Mexican nations. The struggles and history of suffering of Amerika’s Native and Afrikan peoples was a common one and continues to be. And many poor whites rejected the lies of white supremacy and joined with the Natives and New Afrikans in our struggles against national, racial and class oppression and exploitation at the hands of Amerikan imperialism and capitalism. It had been the system of imperialism and capitalism that has designs to keep us divided and ruled.
It is in the spirit of these unified struggles of the oppressed against this ongoing oppressive system, that the New Afrikan Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter joins with the Red Heart Warriors Society, the White Panther Organization, the Brown Panther Organization, the New Afrikan Service Organization and all other revolutionaries and progressive groups and peoples in exposing truth and struggling to raise the banner of genuine independence, self-determination and revolutionary people’s power for all oppressed peoples.
So we say New Afrikan Power to New Afrikan People! Native Power to Native People! Latin@ power to Latin@ people! Mexican power to Mexican People! And Panther Love to all who stand firmly opposed to imperialism and the lies that sustain imperialism.