Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving Day Newsletter #8, National Day of Mourning, November26, 2020




Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace, Justice, and Ecology



 A Day of Mourning


A Native American Point of View

About Face: Veterans Against the War


400th Anniversary 2020

Another Native American POV

White Nationalism

 Black Friday and Buy Nothing

Amazon Workers

War Resisters League

Rain Forest Actions Network

 Making Connections

Native Americans and Palestinians

 Thanksgiving Day 2019





(PR is an excellent source of questioning mainstream verities, and , as usual with such points of view, it needs your financial support.  –D)




For the past two years, you've received a Thanks-taking day email from my sister-in-struggle and fellow About Face member, Krystal Two Bulls. She generously shared her personal story and offered insights on how we can all deepen our commitment to decolonization and counteract the ahistorical, harmful narratives about this day.

This year, I had the opportunity to visit with a newer Indigenous About Face member, Danny Grassrope, as he shared his reflections:

Thanks-taking, we have to know the true history of what it was. It’s a time of mourning to remember those people who were trusting these settlers -- they showed them how to garden here, how to use the resources here, and then they just slaughtered them. I’m thankful that my ancestors stood their ground so that we can have a future, that we are still here. I’m thankful that there are people in my community that are good mentors, that continue to empower us younger folks to learn our language, to learn our ways.

All we ask is that you acknowledge who we are and what happened. Know our side of history.

I’m not asking you for pity, I’m asking you to acknowledge who I am. To give me the time and space and help us get our land back, so we can protect our sacred sites and who we are and our herbal roots that we use for medicine, our plants.

Our Land is not just a physical form or entity, the land is who we are, the land is where we practice our ceremonies, and that’s true for Indigenous folks around the world, not just here on Turtle Island.

We're grateful for the chances we've had to grow our collective commitment to decolonization over the past two years, and we continue to dedicate ourselves to the unlearning, relationship-building and solidarity practices that our values require of us. As part of that commitment, we're highlighting three things you can do to deepen your knowledge and act in solidarity with Indigenous movements alongside us. (If you've already done all three, consider sharing with a friend!)

1. Support the Cheyenne River Grassroots Collective

Danny is also a member of this collective, and he shared his powerful story and call to action with us:

I’m from the Kul Wicasa Oyate, but I stay on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. About two years ago, Cheyenne River wanted to call veterans to train folks in Cheyenne River. The specific training was veterans training veterans, but it opened up for the community to join as well. So then when we went to this training that About Face was actually putting on, it was very interesting. Krystal Two Bulls talked about Indigenous folks in the military. She talked about her story, and it was very similar to mine.

Back then, I was embarrassed to say that I was a veteran in the military because of this movement and Standing Rock, where the National Guard was a present military force. But it was crazy, because when they started doing the blockade, I was like, "hey, I know that person -- I know some of these people in uniform." The people I was rolling with asked, "how do you know these people?’" and I’m like, "uh...I might have joined the National Guard and that was the unit that I was in." But I asked them not to tell anybody, because there was a part of me that didn’t want people to know. I was a little embarrassed.

But when About Face hosted this training in Cheyenne River, I was like, "hey, I like what About Face is and what it stands for." I thought, “Ooh, I want to be a part of this group.” The following day, I decided to join, and I brought in with me the fight against the Keystone XL Pipeline and what it will do to our people and the land.

So it’s very empowering that there are groups like About Face out there and people that share knowledge on the reservations on and off. Because now it’s not just an Indigenous fight, it’s everybody’s fight.

The connection between the pipeline fight here on Turtle Island and the wars abroad is colonialism. The KXL Pipeline comes from a fossil fuel industry. The US military goes into the Middle East, extracting their resources for the same industry. It’s just this long cycle that we need to break and dismantle, and we want to encourage other people to find their roots. So I think that’s where About Face and this movement to dismantle the military industrial complex of big oil and greedy people comes in. This movement isn’t just our movement, it’s everyone’s movement. We do this for everybody.


Danny asks that folks support the collective as they help lead the fight against the pipeline by:

·  Following the Cheyenne River Grassroots collective for updates on FacebookInstagram, and/or Twitter and sharing their content to spread the word.

·  Donating to their crowdfund

·  Demanding your elected officials say no to KXL and pressure Biden to shut it down.

2. Follow and Support the #LandBack Campaign

We're proud to join with our own Krystal Two Bulls as she spearheads the #LANDBACK Campaign at NDN Collective. Make sure to read the manifesto to familiarize yourself with the principles and vision, including their most immediate demands to close Mt. Rushmore and return those and all public lands in the Black Hills to Indigenous hands.

Take a few moments today to watch their inspiring 5-minute mini-documentary about their recent actions.

Click on the photo above to watch the #LandBack campaign's mini-documentary.

3. Complete the DecolonizeU Self-Study Course

We created a new "resources" section of our website, where you can now find all the materials for our pilot DecolonizeU course, “Militarism On Turtle Island.” Together, we explore the historic and ongoing relationship between Indigenous resistance and militarization in so-called North America. Learn from three weeks of readings, reflection questions, and recordings of talks from Indigenous movement leaders at your own pace! (If you already took this course as part of the live cohort when we launched it, stay tuned -- we've got more planned for the future.)

As we take these actions, we also want to remind ourselves that decolonization goes far (far) beyond a single day or a single list of ways to show up and to learn. This Thanks-taking, we re-commit to deepening our solidarity with Indigenous resistance -- today, every day, and for the long-haul.

Thank you for choosing to join in this commitment with us.

In love and solidarity,

Brittany Ramos DeBarros
Organizing Director and Member
About Face: Veterans Against the War


About Face: Veterans Against The War
P.O. Box 3565
New York, NY 10008





Published last year too late for my 2019 newsletter (see at end)



American Indians plan day of mourning.   Indigenous alternative to Thanksgiving scheduled again on Plymouth Rock  by WILLIAM J. KOLE The Associated Press | November 27, 2019 at 3:57 a.m.  (Title in NADG is “American Indians plan day of mourning on Plymouth Rock.”)

(Photo deleted—D)  Andres Araica of Boston prays in front of a statue of the Wampanoag leader Massasoit in Plymouth, Mass., before a 1998 protest march on the American Indians’ annual National Day of Mourning.

PLYMOUTH, Mass. -- American Indians are preparing to convene their 50th annual National Day of Mourning in the seaside town where the Pilgrims settled.

United American Indians of New England has held the solemn remembrance on every Thanksgiving Day since 1970 to recall what organizers describe as "the genocide of millions of native people, the theft of native lands and the relentless assault on native culture."

But Thursday's gathering will have particular resonance -- and, indigenous people say, a fresh sense of urgency.

Plymouth is putting the final touches on next year's 400th anniversary commemorations of the Pilgrims' landing in 1620. And as the 2020 events approach, descendants of the Wampanoag tribe that helped the newcomers survive are determined to ensure the world doesn't forget the disease, racism and oppression the European settlers brought.

"We talk about the history because we must," said Mahtowin Munro, a co-leader of the group.

"The focus is always on the Pilgrims. We're just going to keep telling the truth," she said. "More and more nonnative people have been listening to us. They're trying to adjust their prism."

As they have on every Thanksgiving for the past half-century, participants will assemble at noon on Cole's Hill, a windswept mound overlooking Plymouth Rock, a memorial to the colonists' arrival.

Beneath a giant bronze statue of Massasoit, the Wampanoag leader in 1620, American Indians from tribes around New England will beat drums, offer prayers and read speeches before marching through Plymouth's historic district, joined by dozens of sympathetic supporters.

Organizers say they'll also call attention to the plight of missing and murdered indigenous women, as well as government crackdowns on migrants from Latin America and the detention of children. Promotional posters proclaim: "We didn't cross the border -- the border crossed us!"

Past gatherings have mourned lives lost to the nationwide opioid addiction crisis, shown solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and condemned environmental degradation.

The tradition was born of Plymouth's last big birthday bash in 1970 -- a 350th anniversary commemoration that triggered demonstrations by native people excluded from a decidedly Pilgrim-focused observance.

Since then, the National Day of Mourning has become an increasingly multiethnic affair in the community nicknamed "America's Hometown."  MORE



Reflecting on colonization this Thanks-taking Day

Krystal Two Bulls via 11-28-19

8:00 AM (46 minutes ago)

to me





Today is always a complicated day for me and I hope you will join me for a moment of reflection. As you may know, I am Oglala Lakota and Northern Cheyenne from the Pine Ridge and Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservations. As a Native American woman, today is not a day of giving thanks. Most of us who were educated in Western schools were taught that today acknowledges the “Native Americans” saving the lives of the “Pilgrims,” by teaching them how to garden and hunt. They then supposedly shared a meal together, which was the predecessor of the Thanksgiving meal most Americans share today.

That is not what happened and that is not what today represents for me. Today is instead a painful reminder that the colonization, militarization, attempted genocide of my people is ongoing. It marks the beginning of a season of remembering the numerous massacres that Native Peoples have faced since contact. Today I remember the Wampanoag People who shared their Indigenous Ecological Knowledge with desperate Pilgrims only to be massacred by them. The U.S. military has always attacked my Peoples in the winter because those are the months when we are at our most vulnerable. Sand Creek Massacre, the Dakota 38 +2 Hangings, the Wounded Knee Massacre and the Fort Robinson Outbreak are just a few atrocities that impact me directly. I descend from survivors of the Wounded Knee Massacre, where 20 Medals of Honor were awarded to the US Soldiers responsible for murdering hundreds of women, children and elderly.

The colonization and militarization of this land established the roots of oppression that have rippled out since in the forms of U.S. imperialism and interventionism. From kidnapping children from their parents at the border to the removal of Palestinians from their lands- the violence that the United States military is presently unleashing around the world continues to be patterned from the colonization of Turtle Island and her original stewards.

And yet all over the world the People are rising up and taking the streets to counter the spread of fascism. So, we must continue to uphold the voices of those most impacted by war and US intervention. We must continue to deepen our understanding of organizing and direct action. We must continue to strengthen our relationships with our allies and coalition partners. We must continue to leverage our privilege and experiences as veterans.

And we must do this while staying grounded in our understanding of the impacts of militarism on Turtle Island and journeying down the road to decolonization. About Face: Veterans Against the War has been a community of healing and support for me, that has been transformational. It has been a safe space to have the tough conversations about war, colonization, tokenization, appropriation, imperialism and the impacts of all of these on us as human beings.

I invite you to join us in our commitment to not just use the word decolonization in our work, but to embody it with our daily actions and organizational practices. If you need a place to start, kick off your 2020 right and sign up for the FREE online course we are hosting in January! This inaugural (*cough* pilot) DecolonizeU class titled “Militarism on Turtle Island” is open to anyone who registers. For three weeks will study the historic and ongoing relationship between indigenous resistance and the militarization of North America through selected readings and live webinars featuring indigenous guests speakers.
Learn more and register HERE!


Lastly, we hope you will support our ability to keep doing this work by donating here this #GivingTuesday and asking a handful of friends and family to do the same.


Krystal Two Bulls
Director of Special Projects
About Face: Veterans Against the War



"The Myth of the First Thanksgiving Is a Buttress of White Nationalism and Needs to Go" By Michael J. Silverman, History News Network, posted November 24, 2019.

David J. Silverman is a professor at George Washington University, where he specializes in Native American, Colonial American, and American racial history. He is the author of ThundersticksRed BrethrenNinigret, Faith and Boundaries, and This Land Is Their Land.  His essays have won major awards from the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and the New York State Historical Association. He lives in Philadelphia.







It's officially peak shopping season. Today we’re looking at safety conditions inside one major retailer’s warehouses.


Caroline Mimbs Nyce

Editor, newsletters


(Paul Kuroda / Reveal)

A dangerous time for Amazon workers

If the past is any guide, worker-injury counts will spike this week at Amazon. Last year’s Cyber Monday coincided with a rise in injuries. So did Prime Day.

Jeff Bezos’s retail behemoth prides itself on speed—specifically, the speed with which it can sweep items from warehouse to doorstep. To consumers, such processes seem almost magical.

But in facilities across the country, workers must lift and scan hundreds of items per hour to keep the system going. Some are getting seriously injured—or even killed—in the process.

Our new investigation, published in collaboration with Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting, looks at the human cost of such convenience.


curly quotation mark

When you order something from Amazon and you’ve worked inside Amazon, you wonder, ‘Hey, is ordering my package going to be the demise of somebody?’”

One former safety manager, who worked at multiple Amazon facilities


Candice Dixon, a former employee, puts the company’s (quite literally) back-breaking pace in perspective:

Dixon had to scan a new item every 11 seconds to hit her quota, she said, and Amazon always knew when she didn’t …

She started the job in April 2018, and within two months, or nearly 100,000 items, the lifting had destroyed her back. … She could no longer work at Amazon. Today, she can barely climb stairs.

Read the full story here.


Over the course of reporting this story, Reveal located 2018 injury records from 23 fulfillment centers. If you’ve worked for Amazon, learn how you can request such records and share them with Reveal.


By the Numbers (Jason Raish)

4  The average number of serious injuries per 100 full-time workers in the warehouse industry, in 2018.

9.6  Amazon’s rate of serious injuries per 100 full-time workers, according to internal records from 23 of the company’s 110 fulfillment centers nationwide. It’s nearly double the average injury rate in the warehousing industry.

98.45  The percentage of his expected productivity achieved by Parker Knight, a disabled veteran. The 1.55 percent shortfall triggered his final write-up.

More than 1 billion  The number of packages delivered to Amazon Prime members during the 2018 holiday season, according to the company.


Buy Nothing Day in France 2019

“Black Friday Sales Spur Protest  France; Amazon Targeted as Lawmakers Consider Ban.”  (AP).  NADG (11-29-19).  Protesters “held signs in front of the gates reading “Amazon: For the climate, for jobs, stop expansion, stop over-production!”  “French climate groups are planning “Block Friday” demonstrations today.”
Christian LoweSarah White.  Block Friday: French activists try to disrupt discount shopping day.    Reuters, NOVEMBER 29, 2019 .



No Tanks Giving through WRL

War Resisters League  11-29-19

8:30 AM (1 hour ago)

to me


Hi Dick,

We hope you are having an easy week doing the things you love: whether that's spending time with friends and family, reading, cooking, or volunteering.

While you're enjoying those things, we hope you also take the opportunity to reflect on the way Thanksgiving and its unofficial sister-holiday, Black Friday, are part of an ongoing story of settler-colonialism, erasure, and consumer capitalism. For us, this holiday is a reminder of just how deeply militarism and settler mentalities are embedded in our culture. 

War Resisters League is one of the few places whose internationalist politics are informed by a domestic anti settler-colonial analysis. But, we have a lot of work ahead of us. Can you donate to support WRL's work today?


This framework is precisely why we make sure to turn our gaze inwards as we carry out our work countering militarism: 

WRL's No SWAT Zone work focuses on collaborations between federal agencies, arms dealers, and the military, which fuel police militarization in the U.S. and work to uphold systems that target Black, brown and indigenous people. We build the capacity of local groups working on the frontlines of militarism in the borderlands, like the collaborative work WRL did with Puente Arizona to disrupt the National Homeland Security Conference that took place in Phoenix, AZ this year. And, it's why we lift up leaders like WRL's 2018 Peace Award Recipient, Corrina Gould, whose work with indigenous land trusts is literally gaining grounds for indigenous sovereignty. 

At WRL, we believe capitalism and settler-colonial violence are part of the root causes of war. Can you donate $25 today to help us keep the work going?



Recommended reading for today:


Rethinking Thanksgiving Toolkit from Indigenous Solidarity Network

Learn more about Corrina Gould and the work of The Sogorea Te' Land Trust

A Battle for the Heavens on Mauna Kea: Native Hawaiians Protest Plans for a Massive Telescope published in the LA Times in April of this year

Mauna Kea activists ‘hope for the best and prepare for the worst’ published in Hawaii News Now earlier in November


Raising $5K on Giving Tuesday will allow WRL to:


Fund an entire year of counter-recruitment programming and resource production

Run two Demilitarist Schools with participants who get their lunch and travel covered, facilitators and community presenters who get paid for their time, and accessible space

Fund travel for five people to attend gatherings like the War Resisters' International conference and do the hard work of building movements that reach across borders and struggle in real solidarity for the future we share

Donate any amount by Giving Tuesday and we'll enter your name in WRL's Raffle for Resistance! Donate $25 or more and we'll enter a sheet of 12 tickets in your name! 




Rainforest Action Network 11-29-19


Yesterday, we were all thankful for what we have, but today, many of us are rushing to the store to buy up holiday gifts…

How about doing something different this year? What about giving your loved ones the gift of hope?

Wouldn’t you rather invest in keeping the world green than spending your green on one-off gifts?

This year, we’ve witnessed the Amazon fires, climate disasters, and deforestation in Indonesia. But we’ve also experienced people around the world coming together to fight for our collective future. Isn’t that worth more than a cheap deal at a store?

Rainforest Action Network is fighting every day of the year, for more than 30 years, to protect rainforests, communities and our climate. We’ve stood toe to toe with some of the world’s largest corporations, and we’ve won! In fact, in just the last five years we’ve convinced more than 20 companies to cut deforestation from their supply chains. And we’re leading the way against holding banks responsible for investing in climate change.

By giving the gift of a RAN membership to your loved ones, you’re making an investment in their future — what greater gift could you give?

Because really, what’s more important? This year, instead of watching orangutans on a tv that’s two inches bigger or a few pixels sharper, let’s ensure that orangutans survive in the real world. 

Make a lasting difference in the world. Give the Gift of Hope today. love and rainforests,
Marie Michelson
Digital Director
Rainforest Action Network 


At RAN, we take the “Network” in our name seriously. It is only through your support that we are able to fund major campaigns for the forests, their inhabitants and the natural systems that sustain life. Please consider joining RAN as a Member by making a gift today.


425 Bush St, Suite 300, San Francisco, CA 94108, United States


MAKING CONNECTIONS: Native Americans and Palestinians
Inter/Nationalism: Decolonizing Native America and Palestine by Stephen Salaita.

Publisher’s description:

Connecting the scholarship and activism of Indigenous America and Palestinians .

Steven Salaita argues that American Indian and Indigenous studies must be more central to the scholarship and activism focusing on Palestine. His discussion includes a fascinating inside account of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement; a wide range of Native poetry; the speeches of U.S. President Andrew Jackson; and the discourses of “shared values” between the United States and Israel.

This is a powerful and moving analysis of what it means to decolonize settler societies through an unflinchingly ethical and incisively original notion of inter/nationalism. Steven Salaita is, as always, bold, brilliant, and visionary. Inter/Nationalism offers a searing, comparative analysis of what liberation means in North America and Palestine-Israel. It is a must read for academics, activists, and anyone interested in challenging the logics of ethnic cleansing and settler civility.

Sunaina Maira, University of California, Davis


Table of Contents Thanksgiving Day 2019

Truth about the First Thanksgiving

Native American Day of Mourning 2019, Google Search 11-27-2019

Native American Day of Mourning 2017, Google Search 11-17-2017


Buy Nothing Day (day following Thanksgiving)



Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)