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The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe takes claim as the tribe that welcomed the Pilgrims to North America centuries ago. For the second year in a row, the tribe’s  “People of First Light” float was in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York City. 

The parade provides an  enourmous amount of exposure for the tribe’s important history. The New York Police Department estimates yesterday’s crowd along the parade route in Manhattan was close to three million. Nearly 25 million watched the parade on NBC. 

While the message of the descendants of those who greeted the Pilgrims should be a big deal, it was secondary to the story of  a tribal citizen of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe waving a Palestinian flag in front of the NBC’s cameras as the float passed Macy’s flagship store in Manhattan.

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe attempted to distance itself from the unidentified tribal citizen who waved the flag in the back row of other tribal citizens who displayed the tribe's flag with smiles. The Tribe said in a statement released on Thanksgiving: 

"It's unfortunate that we are not focused on the beautiful display of our culture and history at the Macy’s Day Parade but rather on the actions of an individual tribal citizen. We want to make it very clear that the Tribe takes no stance on the conflicts overseas. Our Tribal Nation remains focused on the issues we face on our ancestral homeland. While we cannot speak for an individual's actions, his actions were not a Tribal decision. Our governing tribal body, along with the other tribal citizens on the float, were not involved with his actions."

Tensions have grown in communities around the world after the terrorist group Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, 2023. The attack left more than 1,400 innocent Israeli men, women, children and foreign tourists dead.  Isreal has retaliated with attacks in Gaza. As of yesterday, more than 13,000 people have been killed by Israel in Gaza, the Associated Press reported.

A call made by Native News Online to Wampanoag tribal leaders has not been returned by press time.

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About The Author
Levi Rickert
Author: Levi RickertEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Levi "Calm Before the Storm" Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. Rickert was awarded Best Column 2021 Native Media Award for the print/online category by the Native American Journalists Association. He serves on the advisory board of the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association. He can be reached at [email protected].