Venue: First Church in Cambridge, Congregational, UCC, 11 Garden Street, Cambridge MA 02138
In the year 1675 English colonists beheaded Metacom, the supreme sachem of the Wampanoag people. For years afterwards his head was displayed on a pike in the town center of Plymouth. Four centuries later, the state of Massachusetts embraces that history of genocide through their state flag and seal where the sword of Miles Standish still hangs above the Native people’s head. The policies to push aside and disinherit Native people of their lands also continue in the state of Massachusetts, as the Wampanoag tribe of Mashpee have been targeted to have their tribal reservation taken out of federal trust. This would be the first time in over 80 years that a native reservation would be terminated.
The sword over the head of Native people of Massachusetts draws from the literal history of colonization, and the metaphorical symbol depicts the continued threat to Native peoples land in this state as less than one half of one percent of native peoples’ territories remain in Native hands. How can Native people expect justice in a court, in a state, from an officer, who hail a flag with the symbols of genocide and oppression? How can Native people expect a change in policy to eliminate their existence if they cannot see a simple change in the state flag?
The time is now! With the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower landing approaching in 2020, it’s time to change the Massachusetts Flag and Seal.
The bloody wars of 17th Century New England forged the American approach to warfare and conquest which still prevails today in our nation’s global military footprint and continual invasions of other countries. Symbolism is important. Let’s change the Massachusetts flag and seal to one depicting peace and reconciliation rather than conquest.
The event will share information about a developing campaign to change the flag and seal, including legislation to be filed in the State Legislature in January and a town meeting campaign. We will also learn about the Trump administration’s challenge to Mashpee Wampanoag sovereignty. Join us to learn, discuss, and make plans!
Jean-Luc Pierite, president of the board of directors, North American Indian Center of Boston
Hartman Deetz, Mashpee Wampanoag
David Detmold, organizer, Change the Massachusetts State Flag and Seal Campaign
Kevin Peterson, founder and director, The New Democracy Coalition
Sponsored by Massachusetts Peace Action, North American Indian Center of Boston, and Cambridge Friends Meeting – Peace & Social Concerns Committeec