Governor Patrick Proclaims May 1st Thomas Morton Day in Massachusetts!


Governor Patrick's Proclamation of May 1st as Thomas Morton Day in Massachusetts

Governor Patrick's Proclamation of May 1st as Thomas Morton Day in Massachusetts

Greetings! Governor Deval Patrick has issued a Proclamation declaring May 1st to be Thomas Morton Day in Massachusetts—in honor of this intrepid and good-humored Englishman who made a success of his trading post by treating Native Americans with respect, while his peers of Plimoth and Boston were starving behind the walls of their needless colonial forts. See the full Proclamation—plus, a bit of “How To Make Revels Happen in Your Community,” and some live music!—at AncientLights.org, on its “Revels at Merrymount Today” page….Drink and Be Merry!

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About Dr Jack Dempsey

Always good to hear from you! A life-long freelance writer/editor, Brown University Ph.D. (in Native & Early American Studies)---novelist ("Ariadne's Brother," "People of the Sea"), historian and biographer ("New English Canaan," "Thomas Morton," "Mystic Fiasco" and more), producer ("Nani: A Native New England Story"), Book Editor/Public Speaking Coach: Bentley University Adjunct Assistant Professor of English, Media Studies & Communications (Best Part Time Prof 2010). Latest works? Scientific nonfiction on the lunar/solar calendar of ancient Minoan Crete---"The Knossos Calendar: Minoan Cycles of the Sun, the Moon, the Soul & Political Power" (Iraklion, Mystis 2016), based on lectures drawn from "Calendar House: Clues to Minoan Time from Knossos Labyrinth" (2011). Come and enjoy multimedia resources including filmed Native American interviews at ANCIENTLIGHTS.ORG
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2 Responses to Governor Patrick Proclaims May 1st Thomas Morton Day in Massachusetts!

  1. rg schilling says:

    Are you kidding me?!?!? I wrote to the Governor’s Office to protest the complete lack of historical preservation of Native American sites in MA, plus total lack of historical markers, and so on. Their response was that the Gov would make a proclamation in appreciation of Native American culture and history in the month of May. How is honoring an Englishman who profited from his trade with Nipmucs proclaiming the value of Native American culture and history? Morton profited from the friendliness and negotiable attitude of the Native peoples. The Native Americans, in return, has everything stolen and endured repeated massacres. This is compensation? This is recognition? Native Americans are only accessories to this story. The day honors a Colonist, all-in-all.

    • Hello RG Schilling—You certainly are right about the official gross neglect toward Massachusetts’ and New England’s Native American history and culture. This region, in the phrase of an MDC archaeologist, is absolutely “chock-a-block”-filled with their recognizably-important places, remains, stone-works etc. that receive no protection, no care, no markers, no study, and virtually no inclusion in either education or public priorities. Again, you could not be more correct about that, and I’ve only known it and tried to speak and/or do something about it for 20+ years.

      I’m wondering if your letter of protest was filed this year? Because the Morton Proclamation was issued in 2011 after long effort to make it happen. Nothing about it suggests that Massachusett and other tribes were “only accessories” to Morton’s story—it says that they were the factor that “made” his plantation a success, which is the case. Yes, Morton derived benefit from those relationships, but he was the only colonist of that time/place who even mentioned any idea of “respect” toward them, who saw and portrayed them as human beings with a great and successful civilization superior in many ways to his own. And for that Morton was burned out of the country as a prelude to the same treatment meted out to Native peoples.

      Not one bit of that can mean very much to Native New Englanders, considering what happened to them in time. But the Proclamation was not meant as any kind of “compensation.” It was to acknowledge that between Native peoples and English, for awhile, things really had a very good chance to go a different way. You may know that the home-site of Morton’s host, Neponset Massachusett Sachem Chikatawbak, at Moswetusset Hummock is this state’s oldest historical site, and that we have seen more honors for him and them in what happens ceremonially at Weymouth/Wessagussett each year. In short, there are many people doing everything they can to move a system that “runs on glue and tar” in the direction you’d like to see, and this Proclamation might at least be seen as a beginning to a new level of recognition, protection and learning.

      I welcome your view, comment and further discussion because you are correct, and can only add that I mean to keep on working for the kinds of recognition you also want to see. I hope that you may see the many pages and interviews/film clips on Native New England at ANCIENT LIGHTS as part of that effort—and, if you ever might want to work more directly together in some way, I would welcome that.

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