It was the Wampanoag People, the people of the first light, that encountered the Pilgrims when they arrived to Turtle Island (North America) from Europe in 1620. Since 1863, Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a national holiday in the United States, mythologizing the violent events that followed European arrival into a story of friendship and mutual sharing. But the reality is that the Wampanoags’ generosity was met with genocide, and this truth has been systematically suppressed in the US education system, government, and popular culture.
Antonio Gonzales, director of the American Indian Movement AIM West, explains why the use of Indigneous Peoples as mascots is culturally offensive and can no longer be tolerated in the 21st century. We caught up with Antonio Gonzales at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples Issues, New York.