NECONAM had a table at the 2019 New England Conference Annual Session. These are photos of our display.
On October 14 2019, Maine and Vermont will celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead of Columbus Day. This is a great step forward for indigenous people in New England and beyond. New England CONAM is recommending local churches in the entire conference and the New England Conference to stand together with this movement. As part of our Acts of Repentance, we can provide an example to those in our communities that we stand with those indigenous communities around our conference.
What we learned in school history books is only part of the story. Columbus initiated his transatlantic slave trade in 1494 when he send dozens of Taínos to Spain. Then in 1495, Columbus ordered some 1600 Taínos rounded up and 550 of them sent to Spain as slaves. From the beginning, Columbus was not on a mission to discover, but a mission to exploit and conquest. Taínos were forced into a tribute system and forced to find gold. If they failed, the Taínos were punished. This punishment took some ugly forms, from cutting off hands to being chased down by attack dogs. The wood cut below depicts a brutal scene of what the Taínos endured.
In the book The Conquest of Paradise, Kirkpatrick Sale depicts the scene where Columbus’s men encountered a group of Taínos in March 1495 in Hispaniola.
Too often, the Columbus story only depicts Columbus planting a flag on “San Salvador”, children learn the three ships names, but that is about it. The Taínos don’t have a voice in most history books that are in schools today.
How do we change the narrative? We start by educating those around us with the other side of the story. We have provided some resources below for those who would like to educate themselves or provide another voice at the table.
Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years edited by Bill Bigelow
All the Real Indians Died Off And 20 Other Myths by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Columbus: His Enterprise by Hans Koning
Christopher Columbus and the Conquest of Paradise by Kirkpatrick Sale
A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
Four out of five Native women are affected by violence today. #MMIWG is to shine a light on Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls. The infographic below gives some high level statistics regarding this issue.
Urban Indian Health Institute published a report in 2018 regarding the U.S. related data.
In Indian country, families sometimes wait days for the authorities to respond, and frequently lead the only search parties. What’s worse, sometimes the record of that missing indigenous person isn’t documented, leaving questions unanswered for decades, leading to gaps in information, missing person cases unsolved and perpetrators roaming the streets.
Native American women and girls face an epidemic of violence and indifference in the US. Over recent decades, thousands are believed to have disappeared, but the exact number and their fates are unknown because there is no single federal database tracking the missing.
Red Dress Project
The REDress Project, focuses around the issue of missing or murdered Aboriginal women across Canada. It is an installation art project based on an aesthetic response to this critical national issue. The project seeks to collect 600 red dresses by community donation that will later be installed in public spaces throughout Winnipeg and across Canada as a visual reminder of the staggering number of women who are no longer with us. Through the installation the artist hopes to draw attention to the gendered and racialized nature of violent crimes against Aboriginal women and to evoke a presence through the marking of absence. The image below is a portion of an installation at the National Museum of American Indian in Washington, DC.
Recently, New England CONAM donated funds to help indigenous tribes within Maine to improve food security. During this COVID-19 crisis, many people are not able to work, without a safety net to catch them. The pandemic has hit BIPoC individuals harder than other populations.
You can be part of this call to action by:
1. Making a donation to the REACH Community Response Fund at Call to Action: Wabanaki Food Security
2. Sending a check directly to one of the Wabanaki communities’ food pantries:
- Penobscot Nation Food Pantry, 12 Wabanaki Way, Indian Island, ME 04468
- Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point Food Pantry, PO Box 343, Perry, ME 04667
- Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township Food Pantry, PO Box 301, Princeton, ME 04668
- Aroostook Band of Micmacs Food Bank, 7 Northern Rd., Presque Isle, ME 04736
- Houlton Band of Maliseets Food Pantry, 88 Bell Road, Littleton, ME 04730
3. Making a donation to Eastern Woodlands Rematriation in support of Wabanaki food sovereignty making an payment:
- Online at https://whyhunger.org/
- By sending a check to Why Hunger, 505 Eighth Ave, Suite 2100, NY, NY 10018
Put Eastern Woodlands Rematriation in the subject line.