Monday a group of us came out to the Amherst town common to honor and celebrate the indigenous people of the world.
We started the ceremony with a short vigil at Amherst Center. The community was pretty receptive. After this we had a circle on the town common.
After introducing ourselves, we spoke a bit about the process of colonization and the effect it has on both the settler and indigenous groups. Some people shared their feelings on decolonization and the importance of respecting the earth and giving back to our communities.
Next the group went over to the Lord Jeffrey Amherst Inn. Lord Jeffrey Amherst is credited with coming up with the plan to deliver smallpox blankets to the natives who lived in this area, (previously called Norwottuck); This was one of the earliest and most devastating acts of chemical warfare on this continent.
The punishment for these war crimes? Having a town and a prestigious university dedicated in his name.
A group of us gathered on the lawn at the Lord Jeffrey Inn and shared names of people who have fought for cultural survival through the times, whose names we would prefer to honor on the holiday.
It was an intimate group which allowed for people to feel pretty connected to each other and share their own stories about their relationship with colonization and indigenous life, and ideas for the future.
It was a beautiful day.
More photos on flickr