Sunday, January 16, 2022
Jan. 16, 2022

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Letter: Remember those who were here first

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As I count my blessings this season, I’m grateful that I’m still learning and unlearning. For example, I’m finally understanding how whitewashed our traditional story of the first Thanksgiving is.

On the “first Thanksgiving” 400 years ago, the Wampanoag Nation had nothing to celebrate, and everything to fear and grieve. They’d thrived for 10,000 years in what we now call New England — southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, specifically. But then, with the arrival of the Pilgrims and the Puritans, their world changed.

Yes, I’m thankful that my Pilgrim ancestors made it through those first years at Plymouth. (I wouldn’t be here if they hadn’t.) But the tragic price their Indigenous neighbors paid for that continues to be exacted, and has spread “from sea to shining sea.” In these times, may those of us whose ancestors colonized this continent be mindful of how our success has impacted those who were here first.

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