COALITION–Stop This Racist Play Opposes Productions of THE NEW WORLD

PRESS RELEASE for our PRESS CONFERENCE
https://www.broadwayworld.com/pittsburgh/article/Stop-This-Racist-Play-Opposes-Productions-of-THE-NEW-WORLD-20171124

EVENT ON FACEBOOK
https://www.facebook.com/events/142164653105319/

LINKS ABOUT “THE NEW WORLD” PLAYING IN BUCKS COUNTY PLAYHOUSE

Article at www.newhopefreepress.com
BCP – Cast of “The New World”

HANDOUT WITH OUR CRITICAL OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THE PLAY
handout-STRP-8.5×5.5

TO GET INVOLVED or TO CONTACT OUR COALITION, VISIT
@CoalitionStopThisRacistPlay


OUR STATEMENT

Good Evening Everyone! 

Thank you for attending our Press Conference this November 25th, 2017. 

We are representatives of a Coalition founded by Indigenous and Native members to stop the production of the play,  “THE NEW WORLD”.

As a Native American woman I [Donna Fann-Boyle] stand before you to share a TRUTH that seems to be forgotten in our country.  This truth is factual history that is often times rewritten and or made invisible.  The play “The New World” is yet another example of how Native people, our history and culture, is appropriated and marginalized.

The Bucks County Playhouse production of this play could not have come at a more insensitive and disrespectful time for our community.  November is federally recognized as Native American Heritage month.  It is a commemorative time in the United States of America when ‘FIRST NATIONS, NATIVE AMERICANS, HAWAIIAN NATIVES AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’ celebrate who we are as people, speak on our heritage, and help to repair acts of injustice against our communities in the USA and across the world.

As such, we are here today to stand against the injustice committed on our people- including the perpetuation of misrepresentation and rewritten accounts of our history.

We are here to TELL OUR TRUTH.

Most Americans in our country are still taught that Thanksgiving is a time for celebrating a harmonious encounter between the Pilgrims and Indians. Whether through media, schools, the arts or other mediums this unfactual and undocumented history is one of the most racist, insensitive and unfortunate truth of our times.

Thanksgiving has long been a difficult day for many Native Americans.  In our country the day is deemed a  holiday which thereby promotes A FAIRYTALE  OF OUR EARLY AMERICAN HISTORY.  As such, this “holiday” obscures the  intentional omission of the oppression, violence, and bloodshed against our people and the colonial assault against   Indigenous people that we have faced since the Europeans migrated to settle on our continent.

I would like to inform you now of the documented and irrefutable TRUTH of how Thanksgiving came to be in our country and what it represents. In 1637 Massachusetts Bay Gov. William Bradford called on a “Day of Thanksgiving” to be acknowledged “in all the churches for victories against the Pequots”. He did so in order to celebrate the safe return of English settlers from the Massachusetts Bay Colony who had gone to Mystic, Connecticut to participate in the massacre of over 700 Pequot indians which include women, children, and men. [1] —  THE ONLY TRUTH to this mythological holiday known as “Thanksgiving”  is that the“PILGRIMS” would not have survived their first decades in “New England” had it not been  for the aid and support of the Wampanoag people.

Thanksgiving was not declared a national holiday until 1863. “…Abraham Lincoln declared [Thanksgiving Day] a national holiday. It was his attempt to unify the nation as it endured the ravages of the Civil War.  [Many people also do not know that] A year later, he presided over the largest mass execution in the United States history, ordering 38 Lakota men to be publicly hanged.” [2] — LET US NOT FORGET, that this was also a time in our country when Euro-American settlers, IMMIGRANTS TO OUR LAND,  were waging brutal war against our people in order to take our lands and way of life.

Every year since 1970, the United American Indians of New England have organized a National Day of Mourning in observance of Thanksgiving Day. [3] Every year, hundreds of Native people and our supporters join us from all four directions.  And every year Native people from throughout the Americas speak of the truth about our history, current issues and struggles.

WE STAND WITH YOU HERE.

Because WE… ARE STILL HERE! —  And the TRUTH MUST BE TOLD!

WE WILL NOT ALLOW OUR HISTORY TO BE MISREPRESENTED AND EXPLOITED ANYMORE BY THE ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY!

We acknowledge the producers of this play has actively sought to listen to our concerns and acknowledge the minor changes made to the play. They changed the name of the Wampanoag tribe and the character’s name of Squanto  to fictitious names.  We were told there were minor alterations of the script, although we cannot authenticate this to be true as we never saw the actual script.

Unfortunately, after careful review of the play and thoughtful consideration, we have come to the conclusion that our coalition cannot endorse this play in any shape or form.

The entire premise of ‘The New Word’ and the inclusive cultural appropriation is not acceptable and we thereby  deem it irreparable.

IN CONCLUSION,

Our goal is two-pronged: We want  the “The New World” to cease production.  This includes at the Bucks County Playhouse and for all future endeavors elsewhere.  We seek to ensure that racist and insensitive plays like “The New World” are not produced, shown, or supported in any regard.  There is nothing humorous about a play that further perpetrates the pilgrim’s myth of the “Thanksgiving” – a holiday that was born from the extermination and exploitation of Native populations. Although the writer’s intention was to unify people, even going so far as to make a mockery of every social group included in the production and including a “multicultural” cast, our community finds the depiction and the rewritten historical accounts of our people reprehensible and not acceptable.

We believe that the Bucks County Playhouse can play a significant role in the community and perpetuate the right kind of change needed in society- change conducive for all people, including the original inhabitants of this country and members of our community. As it stands now any endorsement of this play is divisive and definitively does not unify all people.

THOUGH, IT IS NOW THE TIME TO CHANGE THE DIVISION!

Whether you are Black, Brown, White and working class people, we ask you to stand together against the racial  injustices and violence that also affects Indigenous people.

We also ask that all involved with this play and audience members take the time to learn the true story of this pilgrim’s holiday, “Thanksgiving Day”.

We invite you to find out more how you can support this campaign and how to get involved.  We welcome you to visit our website:  http://indigenous215.net/stopthisracistplay

LASTLY,

Thank you for listening to the painful history of our people and for being here with us.

THANK YOU

———————

REFERENCES

  1. NowThis is Politics. ‘America is a myth and the United States is on stolen land.
    https://www.facebook.com/NowThisPolitics/videos/1797268060304676
  2. NowThis is Politics. ‘America is a myth and the United States is on stolen land.
    https://www.facebook.com/NowThisPolitics/videos/1797268060304676
  3. “ Since 1970, Native Americans and [their supporters] have gathered at noon on Cole’s Hill in Plymouth to commemorate a National Day of Mourning on the US thanksgiving holiday. Many Native Americans do not celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims and other European settlers. Thanksgiving day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native people, the theft of Native lands, and the relentless assault on Native culture. “ 
    http://www.uaine.org/