October 19, 1998 Statement of United American Indians of New England

We need not recount what happened on November 27, 1997, when 25 peaceful protesters were arrested in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The events are well-documented, not only in pictures and words, but in the memories of those who experienced what took place on the streets of Plymouth. Since then, UAINE has received thousands of letters of support and petitions. People and organizations from across the country and from throughout the world sent letters, e-mails, and faxes to federal, state, and local officials demanding that the charges against the Plymouth 25 be dropped. Many of these people honored our call for an economic boycott of Plymouth. Supporters stood with us in court every time we were required to make an appearance and made sure that information about about our case was distributed internationally. To each and every one of you who refused to look the other way when confronted by injustice, we say "thank you," and we honor you.

We are pleased to announce that the frame-up criminal charges against those arrested on November 27, 1997 have been dropped as of today, October 19, 1998. Further, United American Indians of New England has reached a settlement with the Town of Plymouth. Plymouth has acknowledged our right to walk on our own land without a permit on National Day of Mourning. Plymouth has agreed to make the truth part of its celebration of the pilgrim myth of thanksgiving. Under the terms of this agreement, we will have a number of important opportunities to address the lies and inaccuracies about "thanksgiving"and the history of Indigenous peoples that have been disseminated not only in Plymouth but throughout the country. We are confident that this agreement represents a tremendous victory for the struggle of Native people to have our voices heard and respected.

This victory did not happen because of the courts or the politicians or any individuals. This agreement and the dropping of the charges have come about as a result of the peoples' struggle, as a result of the work of hundreds of our supporters from around the world. It comes as a result of the tremendous sacrifices that have been made by many, and in particular the Plymouth 25 defendants themselves.

We want to thank all of our sisters and brothers from the Four Directions who were arrested with us last year, and who have stayed strong despite a lot of pressures. We want to thank our elders for their wisdom and encouragement. We also want to thank our lawyers, who have done a great and often thankless job. They are: Michael Altman, Danny Beck, Dave Nathanson, John Reinstein, and Barry Wilson. All who took part have written a new chapter in the struggle.

We note that the United States government made -- and then broke -- more than 350 treaties with Native nations. We sincerely hope that Plymouth will not follow that example, and that it will honor its commitments in this agreement. For our part, United American Indians of New England will follow the example of our ancestors. We will honor our commitments.

Our organization was born out of struggle, and we will continue to demand justice for all Native people and freedom for our brother, political prisoner Leonard Peltier.

We very much look forward to the 29th National Day of Mourning this year, which will be held in Plymouth at 12 noon on "thanksgiving" day, November 26, 1998. We expect that many hundreds of people will be coming to National Day of Mourning from all over the country. As has been the case every year since 1970, Indigenous peoples from throughout the Americas and our supporters will gather to show our strength and unity, to speak the truth about our history as well as what is going on in many parts of Indian Country today.

We are not vanishing. We are not conquered. We are STRONGER than ever.