Saturday, November 18, 2006


People for Peace, Justice, and Healing
November 18, 2006

People for Peace, Justice and Healing met on Sat., Nov. 18, 2006, at Associated Ministries at 10 a.m. Present for check-in: Sheila, Kyle, Louisa, Vivi, Mark, David, Dorothy, Sol, Sallie S., and Rob.


[Note from Mark: Based on some research it would appear that many of the assertions made below are unreliable. They have been excluded from the article on Thanksgiving on Wikipedia, for example; see here, where one commentator wrote about the massacre in question: "As far as I know, no 'Historians' make the assertion that it should be associated with Thanksgiving. The first proponent of this (James Loewen) is a sociologist, not a historian." I have been unable to find any solid confirmation of the research or the sources referred to at the end of the piece. The most extensive discussion I've found is here. This piece links to an assertion that William Newell was never chair of the Anthropology Dept. at the Univ. of Connecticut, in the form of this statement from Jocelyn Linnekin: "1. We have no record of a William Newell ever having taught at the University of Connecticut in any department. Years ago I asked Professor James Barnett, who would have remembered such things. He did not know of any William Newell. 2. The Department of Anthropology did not exist here until 1971, when it became independent of Sociology. I was here then. William Newell was not among my colleagues. I do not understand how he can legitimately claim to be a "former head of the Anthropology Department" here. 3. Because this item was in wide circulation well before I became chair in 1981, the assertion that Newell made this statement "recently" is a distortion. He may have repeated it recently, if he is still above the sod. As I recall he was at age 84 and holding when I first heard about his claim almost two decades ago. 4. I know of no incident that exactly fits the description attributed to Newell. There was in fact the Pequot Massacre of 1637 in the Mystic area that was perpetrated by the English with Mohegan and Narragansett allies -- no Dutch. It bears a general resemblance to the Newell story. Soon after the Pequot Massacre there was also allegedly a statement from the pulpit by one of the Mathers (Cotton?) who called on his congregation to 'Give thanks to God that on this day we have sent three hundred heathen souls to hell' or words and numbers to that effect. I cannot give the exact quote or citation, but I've seen it. -- The Mashantucket Pequot dropped a bundle in producing a documentary movie of the massacre that is open to the public visiting the museum. You can simply forward this to the original sender if you want to. I surely wish there was a way of simultaneously deleting the Newell item from all press files with a single keystroke. Still, despite the distortions and the questionable attributions, the item apparently has at least some resemblance to an actual historical incident that occurred seventeen years after the Pilgrims landed. As a cautionary footnote to the Thanksgiving over the river and through the woods, it may sharpen public awareness of the nature of colonial situations. Or not. -- I hope this clears up the matter for you. Regards, Jocelyn Linnekin/Professor & Department Head (University of Connecticut). -- Jocelyn Linnekin would appear to exist; see here. --Mark.] Sallie read some of the findings attributed to William B. Newell, a member of the Penobscots and an anthropologist, said to be a former chair of the Dept. of Anthropology of the Univ. of Connecticut (see above, however), according to whose alleged archival research the original Thanksgiving was not a festive gathering but rather the celebration of a massacre of Pequots. The holiday was proclaimed to commemorate the massacre of 700 men, women, and children gathered for the Green Corn Dance who were attacked by Dutch and English mercenaries. Newell's work claimed to be based on archival research, in particular the papers of Sir William Johnson (1715-1774), who was Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the British crown. According to this text, the next hundred Thanksgivings were also commemorations of the massacre, which took place near Groton, Connecticut (which is also, Sallie pointed out, the birthplace of the U.S. submarine fleet and now the site of New Submarine Base New London.) Discussion. -- The text Sallie read was from the AIM web site: "ORIGINS OF THANKSGIVING. The year was 1637.....700 men, women and children of the Pequot Tribe, gathered for their 'Annual Green Corn Dance' in the area that is now known as Groton, Conn. While they were gathered in this place of meeting, they were surrounded and attacked by mercernaries of the English and Dutch. The Indians were ordered from the building and as they came forth, they were shot down. The rest were burned alive in the building. The next day, the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared : "A day of Thanksgiving, thanking God that they had eliminated over 700 men, women and children. For the next 100 years, every 'Thanksgiving Day' ordained by a Governor or President was to honor that victory, thanking God that the battle had been won. Newell based his research on studies of Holland Documents and the 13 volume Colonial Documentary History, both thick sets of letters and reports from colonial officials to their superiors and the king in England, and the private papers of Sir William Johnson, British Indian agent for the New York colony for 30 years in the mid-1600s. 'My research is authentic because it is documentary,' Newell said. 'You can't get anything more accurate than that because it is first hand. It is not hearsay.' Newell said the next 100 Thanksgivings commemorated the killing of the Indians at what is now Groton, Connecticut [home of a nuclear submarine base] rather than a celebration with them. He said the image of Indians and Pilgrims sitting around a large table to celebrate Thanksgiving Day was 'fictitious' although Indians did share food with the first settlers. Source: Documents of Holland, 13 Volume Colonial Documentary. History, letters and reports from colonial officials to their superiors and the King in England and the private papers of Sir William Johnson, British Indian agent for the New York colony for 30 years. Researched by William B. Newell (Penobscot Tribe) Former Chairman of the University of Connecticut Anthropology Department." (See introductory note for a refutation of the authenticity of these claims.)

Earth Community is an expression used in the Earth Charter, which People for Peace, Justice, and Healing formally endorsed in February 2003. Beginning on Tues., Nov. 21, Dorothy Burkhart will facilitate discussion of David Korten's The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community (Berrett-Koehler Publishers and Kumarian Press, May 2006). Dorothy said Korten argues that it is very likely that there exist a sufficient number of people with social and emotional maturity to work together to change the narrative from Empire to what he calls the Great Turning, and that the power of "empire" exists only because of peoples' belief in its narratives.  —  These "Earth Community Dialogues" will continue on subsequent Tuesdays (Dec. 5 & 19, Jan. 9 & 23, and Feb. 6) at the Wheelock Library (3722 N. 26th St., Tacoma). All meetings will begin at 6:00 p.m. and end about 7:45 p.m. Part of a DVD will be shown. (David Korten was involved in the drafting of the Earth Charter and is also the author of When Corporations Rule the World. Korten's new book makes the case for choosing a future Whole Earth Community grounded in the life-affirming cultural values that are shared by most of the peoples of the world. For more information, see the web site established for the book and related projects. People for Peace, Justice, and Healing is a co-sponsor of this project. For more information, contact Dorothy at

On Monday at 7:00 p.m. on two successive Mondays at least (Nov. 20 & 27 and Dec. 4) at the Mandolin Café (3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma), UFPPC's book discussion group 'Digging Deeper' will discuss the rise to prominence and political prospects of Sen. Barack Obama in the context of the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. The group will examine The Audacity of Hope, Obama’s just-released bestseller, and his 1995 autobiography, Dreams from My Father, as well as two other books: At Canaan’s Edge, the recently published concluding third volume of Taylor Branch's monumental book on "America in the King Years," and Clayborne Carson's edition of The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Participation is free. Some volumes are available for purchase or borrowing. See here for more information.

Update on Lt. Ehren Watada, who appeared on CNN this week to discuss his case. Plans are still underway for a Jan. 20-21 the Citizens' Hearing on the legality of the war, to be held at Evergreen's Tacoma campus, which is in great need of financial contributions. PPJH will co-sponsor an event at 7:00 p.m. on Dec. 5 at King's Books, featuring Prof. Michael Honey of the University of Washington Tacoma showing and discussing his 18-minute video on Watada, "A Soldier's Duty? The Ehren Watada Story," which can be viewed here.

5. PEACE TAX (David)
David Lambert has been named by the War Resisters League to be the Peace Tax Campaign's contact person in Washington's Sixth Congressional District, and is willing and available to speak to groups. The Peace Tax, the idea of which goes back to the early 1980s, is embodied in a bill, H.R. 2631, the "Religious Freedom Tax Fund Bill," which would establish a fund to receive taxes paid by conscientious objectors to war. Right now about 48% of the federal budget goes to expenses due to present or past military activities, according to War Resisters League, though the federal government distorts the presentation of statistics in order to make this portion to appear to be only 19%. For more information see here.

The Fellowship of Reconciliation sent Michael Tivana last weekend to speak in Tacoma about the effort to impeach of the president and vice president of the United States, which is the object of a grassroots campaign supported by the Center for Constitutional Rights (whose director, Michael Ratner, was in the news this week for the CCR's support of a legal proceedings to pursue Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for war crimes in Germany, under universal jurisdiction. David recommends the Eastside FOR's Impeach Bush Petition Page where signatures are being gathered. Eastside FOR is specifically interested in state-initiated impeachment.

Sallie has been working on counter-recruitment and had an idea: now that the Democrats control both houses of Congress, portions of the No Child Left Behind Act that require high schools to give the names of students to military recruiters could be repealed. Discussion.

On Sept. 23, 2006, Sol was one of several dozen arrested at the Declaration of Peace action at Ammunition Depot Indian Island. There will be a pre-trial hearing on Wed., Nov. 29, at 2:00 p.m. at the Port Townsend Courthouse (1820 Jefferson St., Port Townsend, WA) and supporters are urged to attend, and also to attend a post-hearing vigil demonstrating support at 5:00 p.m.


On Sun., Nov. 19, 2006, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility while hold a Sunday afternoon "Beyond Oil — Bellevue" conference featuring Sonia Shah, author of Crude: The Story of Oil (Seven Stories Press, 2004; new edition, 2006). The conference will be held in Fenwick Hall, Bellevue First Congregational Church, 752 108th Avenue NE, in downtown Bellevue, WA, adjacent to the Transit Center. It will feature a keynote address and three breakout sessions on the search for answers to local, national, and international dimensions of the problem of petroleum dependency and Peak Oil. Mark will lead a breakout session on international dimensions to the search for solutions. Sponsors include: Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, Evergreen Peace and Justice Community, Eastside Fellowship of Reconciliation, Eastside Earth Education, Veterans for Peace—Chapter 92, and Northwest Earth Institute. Free and open to the public, donations welcome. More information: WPSR, 206-547-2630 or This event follows up on the "Beyond Oil" conference in May 2005 in Seattle that featured Michael Klare, author of Resource Wars and Blood and Oil.

Last week PPJH announced that at 7:00 p.m. on Mon., Nov. 20, noted author Maxine Hong Kingston will hold a reading and signing of the new book she has edited, entitled Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace (Koa Books, September 2006). David said it is possible but not certain that Maxime Hong Kingston herself will appear.

At 7:00 p.m. on Tues., Dec. 5, at King's Books (218 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma; 253-272-8801) there will be a fundraiser to raise money for a Citizen's Tribunal on the legality of the Iraq war. The event will feature a showing of UW Tacoma Prof. Michael Honey's 18-minute video on the Iraq war and a panel discussion of the case of Lt. Ehren Watada. (NOTE: On Thurs., Nov. 9, the U.S. Army announced that Lt. Watada will face a court-martial for refusing to deploy to Iraq on the grounds that the Iraq war is illegal under U.S. and international law; no date has yet been set.)

4. BABEL (Rob)
"Babel" is currently showing at the Grand Cinema in Tacoma. Starring Cate Blanchett, Brad Pitt, Gael Garcia Bernal, and Kôji Yakusho, "Babel" depicts a chain of events that link an American tourist couple's frantic struggle to survive, two Moroccan boys involved in an accidental crime, a nanny illegally crossing into Mexico with two American children, and a Japanese teen rebel whose father is sought by the police in Tokyo. The film has been called "mesmerizing and emotional." It is directed by Alejandro González Inarritu ("21 Grams," "Amores Perros"). By penetrating different cultures it plays on the ancient Babel myth. The international ensemble of actors and non-professional actors from Morocco, Tijuana, and Tokyo offer a dramatic take on cultural diversity, cultural links, and frontiers. Recommended.

Respectfully submitted,