The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe held its 96th annual powwow from July 1–3, 2017. Photo: Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe

The Thanksgiving myth is deeply harmful to the Wampanoag people. Here’s how media power helped set it in motion.

Wampanoags today remember the Pilgrims’ entry to their homeland as a day of deep mourning. So how did we get “Thanksgiving?” Well, white-controlled media power played a huge role.

Truthfully, all we know about the meal known as “the First Thanksgiving” in 1621 comes from a couple of paragraphs written by Edward Winslow and Governor William Bradford. It wasn’t characterized as a big deal.

In 1789, with the United States only recently formed, George Washington feared the nation could easily collapse due to its many internal divisions. So he hosted a gathering at St. Paul’s Chapel on Nov. 26, where…

Past Is Prologue

This holiday demands a deep engagement with American history and anti-Black oppression. Anything less is an insult.

Credit: champc/iStock/Getty Images Plus

I was born on June 19, 1982. My birthday falls on the Black liberation holiday known as “Juneteenth,” a fact that has always felt inspiring and meaningful to me.

Now, on the eve of my 38th Juneteenth, uprisings against racism are sweeping the globe, sparked by the video of the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. We are witnessing an unprecedented reckoning as protestors take to the streets.

In response, people and organizations are scrambling to appear on the right side of history.

“Backbone Campaign Agit-Pop Amazon Campaign S.A.M. 05–23–12” by Backbone Campaign is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Today is International Workers’ Day 2020, also known as May Day, and there’s a massive boycott that’s been organized against companies like Amazon, Target, Instacart, Whole Foods and more.

I’m always down for workers’ rights, and yet this boycott gave me a moment’s pause. With the emergence of COVID-19, delivery services have made it possible to continue to survive without going out to buy supplies.

But then I quickly remembered exactly who and what we’re really talking about when we consider Jeff Bezos’ e-commerce machine.

Many people are singing the praises of Amazon during this crisis, and that’s understandable. But…

Me and my amazing mom, Patricia Ann Lennon Blakeney, circa 2012.

Ew, mom.

“Well. I’m just saying!”

My mom started giving me really straightforward life advice when I was about 12 or 13 years old.

Most folks in my hometown Columbia, South Carolina, were preaching abstinence and so-called virginity. But Pat saw things differently.

“I watch you get out of this car every morning with that saxophone case in your hand and that big book bag on your back, and you walk into that school looking so determined. I want you to keep that attitude, always!”

“So if you get pregnant, don’t worry about it. Strap that baby on your back…

Collette Watson

Visions of a different world. Emboldened by my mothers.

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