Saturday, November 15, 2008

Malcom Lagauche: Same Shit Different Century - Eulogy on King Philip.

For the first 26 years of my life, I lived in a small Rhode Island town, Tiverton. All around me were odd-sounding names of ponds, streets, schools, rivers, and other locations: Nonquit, Pocasset, Conanicus, Sakonnet, Narragansett, Watuppa and others. Occasionally, the name Metacomet was seen, usually as the name of a used car lot or bar.

To me, these names were merely those designated to the area. There were hints that they originated from the Native American language of the Wampanoag Indians, but no in-depth explanation was given. In my 12 years of school in the area, the only Native American history we learned consisted of the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in which the Natives were portrayed as unkempt savages and the Pilgrims were depicted as very civilized.

A few years ago, I read a speech called “Eulogy on King Philip.” It mesmerized me and upset me at the same time.

A Native American author, William Apes, of the Pequot tribe wrote the speech and delivered it in Boston in 1836 to a group of descendants of the original Pilgrims of 1620. It was about racism, deceit, slaughter and imperialism. King Philip was the Anglicized name of the Wampanoag chief, Metacomet.

I felt cheated with my education in the area when I realized that the first major resistance movement in the United States occurred right in my backyard. The conflict was called “King Philip’s War” and was fought in the years 1675 and 1676. Per combatant, it is the bloodiest war fought on U.S. soil. Metacomet won every battle, but when the Puritans were ready to return to England, the Natives ran out of food. In the end, the Wampanoag tribe, that had consisted of more than 30,000 people, was left with only 2,000 survivors. They were put into slavery. The tribe never rebounded and today consists of a few thousand, mostly impoverished, who inhabit southeastern Massachusetts.

One may think that “Eulogy on King Philip” is merely an historical account of the white man’s imperialism, but it is far more. Apes’ address in Boston was delivered in 1836 and he told of events that occurred from 1620 to 1676. But, his words are uncannily precise in describing the world today. One can change the dates and places and see an accurate view of today’s imperialistic aspirations of the U.S. with all the warts: racism, xenophobia, ethnocentrism, and Christian domination. Some events told by Apes are identical to those that occurred in the destruction of Iraq. Even the methods of demonizing and killing of adversaries are the same. For instance, Metacomet was betrayed by a Native. The Puritans paid an informant to find Metacomet’s location. He was killed in Bristol, Rhode Island and his body was dismembered. Metacomet’s body parts were displayed in various towns throughout southern New England. This was the white man’s way of displaying superiority.

In 2003, a distant family member of Saddam Hussein was paid by the U.S. military to disclose the whereabouts of Uday and Qusay Hussein. Several hundred “brave” U.S. soldiers loaded the house with thousands of rockets, missiles, bombs, mortars and bullets before they went in. The bodies of the Hussein brothers resembled the remnants of meat that had been put through a meat-grinder. Soon after, the U.S. showed the bodies to the world. This was the same method of showing superiority as the one used more than three centuries earlier.

The article appears on Malcom Lagauche’s site at

If you want a Pdf copy of the eulogy, provide me with your e-mail address and I’ll e-mail it to you.

No comments: