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How different would the world be if activist, American woman had signed the Compact? This re-imagined Compact is part of the Democracy of the Land project, which explores the effects of colonization on the Mashpee Wampanoag Nation and First Nation peoples of the Americas, and examines the intersection of environment, race, class and gender – past, present and future.
God shed her grace on thee.
And crown thy good with womenhood.
From sea to shining sea.
The cultural, political and environmental stakes are high in how we understand and regulate our relationship with the land, climate and culture. Like the layers of soil, we dig deep into layers of human occupation on the land to discover our history, and the filters we use when we view and experience its elements. The Pilgrims weren’t the first European visitors to the Cape tip, but they certainly created an uproar! In 2020, it will be 528 years since the arrival of a wave of invaders – precipitated by the notorious Christopher Columbus and company.
Next year we commemorate the historic and exalted Mayflower Compact, a democratic document signed in Provincetown Harbor in 1620 by forty-one bedraggled white, Christian men. Native Americans were not consulted. Neither were women. Now it’s time for women to hoist the sails of state and take command: the Re--signing of the Mayflower Compact 2020. We beseech you to reclaim and recreate a value-added Mayflower Compact - for now and for the future! Caesar said it with flair, as did the Pilgrims: Veni, vidi, vici. We came. We saw. We conquered. And now it’s their turn!
With so many activist women of importance in US history, the selection process for the forty-one re-signers of the Mayflower Compact 2020 was agonizing. Just how have women unburdened themselves from the thousands of years of oppression, run through the Christian grinder of western ideology and prosper on American soil?
These forty-one female signers are just the tip of the melting icebergs in my attempt to redress the treatment of women in our country’s narrative. Creative, activist women make up almost half of the signers, from Marion Anderson to Cher, from Audre Lorde to Rachel Carson, from Zora Neale Hurston to Gertrude Stein. And muckraker Ida Tarbell who brought down Rockefeller’s Standard Oil! Other signers include Lucille Ball, Rosa Parks, Whoopi Goldberg and Sojourner Truth. And two of Provincetown’s local exemplars, poet and activist Grace Gouveia and Mary Heaton Vorse, a radical journalist. We also honor the recently elected Congresswomen, two Native Americans - Debra Haaland and Sharice Davids, and two Muslims - Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar.
Recalibrating our history and our vision for the future begins right here. Rise up and join the insurgency! (Please inquire about exhibiting this two-sided, free-standing banner at your “Get out the vote 2020” action.) Curriculum guides for middle and high school students based on the Re-signing The Mayflower Compact 2020 project are available. Inquire at www.jaycritchley.com/mayflower