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Mayflower lands at Plymouth Rock, 1620.

It’s been 400 years since the Mayflower arrived in Provincetown Harbor, and local and international organizations spent a decade planning months of quadricentennial commemorative events, many of which were upended by the coronavirus pandemic. But while our nation has a reckoning with racial injustice, colonialism and xenophobia amid a worsening pandemic, some say the more somber tone appropriately matches the evolving, more nuanced conversations emerging around United States history and colonialism.

“This 21st century commemoration could not be the same as past commemorations and needed to include native people and the native voice,” says Michele Pecoraro, the executive director of Plymouth 400, the nonprofit organization responsible for planning and executing the 1620-related celebrations.

In the past, these events have unilaterally celebrated the Pilgrims’ arrival from England and Europe. Native American speakers weren’t given the space to tell their side of the story, and when they were included, they were often censored. Pecararo hopes that Plymouth 400 can set the stage for more inclusive programming for other towns as well. – wbur.org

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