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Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 15:26:35 CST
Reply-To: ww@wwpublish.com
Sender: Activists Mailing List <ACTIV-L@MIZZOU1.missouri.edu>
From: Workers World Service <ww@nyxfer.blythe.org>
Subject: Native People Bury Racist Rock
To: Multiple recipients of list ACTIV-L <ACTIV-L@MIZZOU1.missouri.edu>

Native People bury racist rock

Worker's World, 1 December 1995

Plymouth, Mass.—Plymouth Rock is a symbol—a monument to murder, slavery, theft, racism and oppression. The white man has killed the spirit in the rock. Things that are dead should stay buried.

Bury racism! Bury oppression! Bury `Pilgrim's Progress'! And bury the rock!

With these words, Moonanum James (Wampanoag), sachem of United American Indians of New England, led over 300 Native people and their supporters of all nationalities down to Plymouth Rock on Nov. 23.

There, about a dozen protesters scaled an iron fence, jumped into the pit where the rock is located, and buried it.

The crowd cheered as women, men and children representing all four directions—red, black, white and yellow—worked together to cover Plymouth Rock with sand and then planted a Native warrior flag atop it. As the victorious dirty dozen climbed out of the pit, Native singers broke into the American Indian Movement song.

The burial of Plymouth Rock capped the 25th anniversary of the National Day of Mourning speak-out held here in Plymouth. The Day of Mourning is a protest against the U.S. celebration of the mythology of Thanksgiving, and against the racist Pilgrim's Progress Parade.

The parade is a re-enactment of the march of Pilgrims to church, with muskets and bibles in hand. Moonanum James said of it: They want to act as though we sat down and ate turkey and lived happily ever after. That is simply not true—and we keep coming back year after year in order to give answer to their lies.

Plymouth Rock had previously been buried in 1970, during the very first National Day of Mourning.


Speakers included Mahtowin (Lakota), an organizer of the event. She spoke about the case of Leonard Peltier, an American Indian Movement warrior framed by the FBI for the 1975 shooting of two FBI agents at Pine Ridge in South Dakota.

Noting that Peltier has been unjustly imprisoned for nearly 20 years, she called on everyone present to join in a concerted effort to picket FBI offices around the country on Feb. 6 in a nationally coordinated day of support for Peltier.

Mahtowin also mentioned the tremendous loss earlier this year of lawyer William Kunstler, who had always been a great champion of Native causes.

An Aztec-Mayan man named Jose—who did not want to give his last name because of potential problems with the racist Immigration and Naturalization Service—spoke of a prophecy. He said the prophecy is that some day the eagle—symbol of North American Native people—and the condor—symbol of Central and South American Native people—would come together, and that this would bring about a resurgence in the Native struggle.

Horacio Gutierrez of Arizona told the gathering of a 1996 spiritual run to reinforce unity among all Indigenous nations from North, Central and South America. Sam Sapiel, a Penobscot medicine elder and another organizer of the protest, opened and closed the Day of Mourning with prayers, and expressed his grave concerns about the ongoing destruction of the environment.

Two days earlier, on Nov. 21, the city of Provincetown, Mass., had held a celebration of the signing of the Mayflower Compact. A statement from UAINE was read to the assembled group there. It read in part:

We have no reason to celebrate the signing of the Compact or the arrival of the Pilgrims. The Mayflower Compact was a mere corporate agreement of white men agreeing to stick together. This would be for the benefit of a handful of wealthy white men and to the detriment of the vast majority of human beings.

There was no room in that Compact for women, lesbians and gay men, and the poor, let alone for Native people or our sisters and brothers of African descent. We call on all oppressed people to unite and join the fight against the racist and murderous ruling class, and not glorify the Mayflower Compact but to condemn it and the system it created.

While some of those attending the celebration in Provincetown were stunned and angered by this statement, a number of people burst into enthusiastic applause.