Plymouth, 1676: Metacom’s War

In the public square stands a tall pole. On top is impaled the head of the hellhound, fiend, tawney serpent and dog, who dared to resist becoming a colonized and culturally submissive person. He dared to drive his forces to within twenty miles of Boston in order to stop the religious and political imperialism of the Puritans.  Metacom, chief of the Wampanoag, has mobilized the largest native confederation to resist the onslaught of the whites.  His wife and son are now slaves in the West Indies. His head will stay on public display for twenty-five years.

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His words will last much longer.

One hundred sixty years later, William Apes will repeat them at the Odeon in Boston.

Brothers—You see this vast country before us, which the Great Spirit gave to our fathers and us; you see the buffalo and the deer that now are our support. Brothers, you see these little ones, our wives and children, who are looking to us for food and raiment; and you now see the foe before you, that they have grown insolent and bold; that all our ancient customs are disregarded; the treaties made by our fathers and us are broken, and all of us insulted; our council fires disregarded, and all the ancients customs of our fathers; our brothers murdered before our eyes, and their spirits cry to us for revenge. Brothers, these people from the unknown world will cut down our groves, spoil our hunting and planting grounds, and drive us and our children from the graves of our fathers, and our council fires, and enslave our women and children.

This would not be the last time a native from this land the Europeans called America would speak words such as these.

 

-Chronicles of American Indian Protest, 8-11

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