Ichabod's Kin
A place for politics, pop culture, and social issues


(I did, and therein hangs a tale in Massachusetts. Read on what was said to my fellow citizens. You may wish to do the same where you live).

          There’s a sad, sorry history of our coming to these shores. Some strive to face and correct the injustices covered by such truth; others may care not a fig.

          In that rough-and-tumble of what is a proud narrative to us, forgotten are the indigenous people who occupied what is now “our” territory by dint of force. We are among the guilty of the world for taking what we did because we could: either we outnumbered or out-gunned those already occupying what was their homeland.

          A bloody conquest it was and we know it if we’ve taken the time or someone wisely brought us to knowledge of it as good teachers and mentors. Others, not so much: despite the relics of this grand theft being before our very eyes, they give it not a thought; the more enlightened need to stand for the forgotten people, and for the promised land of history’s redemption.

          The Massachusetts flag and seal bear all the marks of what we need to know and do. As this was written, local citizens were before the Newburyport City Council with a Resolution to make the true, moral, and necessary changes to our state flag and seal as a formal step toward righting the wrongs those images bear.

          The first seal, dated a mere nine years after our intrusion, shows a half-nude native calling for someone to “Come over and help us”—a notion that fit the invaders’ smug excuse for a takeover. Two years before the 20th century a new flag and seal must have been created by Dr. Frankenstein himself—a hodge-podge representation of the vanquished people, molded into one figure, with facial features of a Chippewa chief from far away Montana; parts of a native skeleton dug up in Winthrop; and a bow nabbed from a native killed in Sudbury–but lacking a quiver to let the observer know the pieced-together man has been “pacified.” His belt was patterned after that of Metacomet’s, leader in the first Native war and known to us as King Philip, whose head had been impaled upon a spike for all to see in Plymouth for over 20 years, a rewarding sight for our gentle forebears who were all too glad to be rid of his kind.

          The Resolution calls on our fair city to adopt it in support of a Special Commission of the Commonwealth, in hopes of creating a new flag and seal. Hopefully it will end in the hands of state Sen. Collins and Rep. Cabral, co-chairs of the Joint Committee on State Administration and to legislators overall, that the necessary changes may be made.

          In Washington, D.C. one can walk in the very steps of Lincoln—something that sends tingles up the spine. Here we walk where once trod the Abenaki, Pennacook and Massachusett, et al, and their present descendants–a reminder from the Resolution that we share a rich history with them. We should also know much more of earlier ones and those still among us.

          The 400th anniversary of the settlers’ landing was three years ago. If we’ve managed some reflection of that, the work is not done. We still appropriate their symbols for school, athletic and other self-interests that came at a cost, not to us, but to them.

          No one likes to hear the particulars of bloody history so I’ll spare you that, but as the Resolution winds its way through our local government and comes to a vote next month, you may wish to be there on behalf of those who live, sadly, in the recesses of our minds as if from a galaxy faraway.

          We all stand on someone’s shoulders in our private lives: forebears, mentors and sometimes angels unaware. But other shoulders were there as well and they count too. What a world it would be if we honored them to the fullest, that their legacy never die nor recede into our social amnesia.

          Some of you were there not long ago when we rescued another twist of history to its deserved name of Indigenous Peoples Day. I’ll say now what I said then: be there or be square as we take another step to right grievous wrongs.



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