Text of 1970 speech by Wampsutta -An Aquinnah Wampanoag

[When Frank James (1923 – February 20, 2001), known to the
Wampanoag people as Wampsutta, was invited to speak by the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts at the 1970 annual
Thanksgiving feast at Plymouth. When the text of Mr. James’
speech, a powerful statement of anger at the history of
oppression of the Native people of America, became known
before the event, the Commonwealth “disinvited” him.
Wampsutta was not prepared to have his speech revised by the
Pilgrims. He left the dinner and the ceremonies and went to
the hill near the statue of the Massasoit, who as the leader
of the Wampanoags when the Pilgrims landed in their
territory. There overlooking Plymouth Harbor, he looked at
the replica of the Mayflower. It was there that he gave his
speech that was to be given to the Pilgrims and their
guests. There eight or ten Indians and their supporters
listened in indignation as Frank talked of the takeover of
the Wampanoag tradition, culture, religion, and land.
That silencing of a strong and honest Native voice led to
the convening of the National Day of Mourning. The following
is the text of 1970 speech by Wampsutta, an Aquinnah
Wampanoag elder and Native American activist.]

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