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Every year for Thanksgiving, the Wall Street Journal features a passage from a pilgrim detailing what colonists perceived when they arrived in the “New World.” The passage is full of disdain and racism towards indigenous people, and it’s time to stop publishing it. 

Tell the Wall Street Journal that it’s 2021. It’s time to stop publishing 17th century racism.

The passage includes lines such as, “What could they see but a hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wilde beasts and wilde men?” The pilgrim writes that they were separate from “all the civil parts of the world.”

The Wampanoag indigenous people saved the colonists from starvation and death, a story that our nation now celebrates as Thanksgiving. But even more than this disturbing lack of gratitude is the notion that there were no civilized people in the Americas. This world view generated centuries of genocidal practices that eliminated 90% of the indigenous population, my ancestors.

And indigenous people are still experiencing lethal prejudice. Just this year we learned about more than 1,300 unmarked graves at residential schools in Canada. We know that thousands of indigenous children died of abuse, neglect and disease through the residential school system. 

Referring to North America’s original inhabitants in 2021 as “wilde men” is racist and should not be acceptable in a newspaper claiming to be an international media source.

I have previously written to The Wall Street Journal requesting an end to this annual practice. My request has been ignored. Now I ask you to stand with me calling for The Wall Street Journal to end this racist insult. Such an action would be an appropriate commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Thanksgiving in the United States.


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