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Native American Month

Native American Month

Written by MJ Reporter Willow LaMunyon

Photo by MJ Photographer Christy Moyer

November is Native American Month, so it is an excellent time to learn something about the people who first walked this land. If you can't remember what you learned in school, good. You are ahead of the game because the books mislead us. It is time to climb out of the rabbit hole and grab some facts.

The 2021 Observance Theme is "Resilient and Enduring: We Are Native People."

When we think of November, the first thing that comes to mind is usually Thanksgiving. So, what really happened at the feast we celebrate? To find out about that, we must go back a bit further, 12,000 years to be exact. At that time, the area now known as Southeastern Massachusetts and the east part of Rhode Island was home to the Wampanoag people and several other tribes. However, ninety Wampanoag were represented at the feast, and fifty pilgrims, only five of which were women. Due to harsh conditions, there were very few pilgrim women left alive.

The Wampanoag ninety attending this three-day feast did work with the puritans to provide food for the celebration by hunting deer and the food provided by nature, but not a single turkey. It was not a pivotal turning time where the Native Americans just turned over their land and walked away.

Upon their arrival, the English became part of a multilateral Indian political life in which the internal politics of the Wampanoag tribe and the inter-tribal politics of the Wampanoag tribe were paramount. The Wampanoags needed to use their politics to deal with the English to adjust the power dynamics of Indian country. The Native Americans were not about to have a nice lunch and bring their land as a gift to the host, and they didn't.

So what about today? I found this site and here is what I found. Here at Native Hope, we hope that this Thanksgiving, the hearts of all people, Native and non-Native, are filled with hope, healing, and a desire to dismantle the barriers—physical, economic, educational, psychological, and spiritual— that divide us and oppress us.

There is so much more to Native American Month than Thanksgiving. Here is one interesting fact among thousands, we owe the Iroquois our constitution. Historians believe that the United States Constitution was modeled after the "The Great Law of Peace," which is the constitution of the Iroquois Confederacy. It is believed that Benjamin Franklin studied it in detail.

Here are some movies to watch during Native American Month:

· Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

· Dead Man

· Smoke Signals

· The Education of Little Tree

· Te Ata

Books to read:

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann(soon to be a movie)

History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Do All Indians Live in Tipis? By answers from the National Museum of The American Indian (children's book)

The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King

The Healing of Natalie Curtis by Jane Kirkpatric

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