Mastodon Defend Thanksgiving Shirt Depicting Pilgrim Pointing a Gun at Native American Woman
On Thanksgiving Day, Mastodon took to their Facebook page to advertise a new t-shirt. The shirt reads ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ and portrays a pilgrim holding a gun to a Native American woman’s head while she holds a cooked turkey on a platter. Although the shirt provides social commentary on the very real massacre of Native Americans surrounding the first celebration of Thanksgiving, Mastodon have come under fire in response to the shirt’s release.
Shortly after posting a link to the Mastodon webstore advertising discounted merch, some Facebook users criticized the metal band, even calling the group racist at times. Mastodon’s post was met with comments such as, “Probably not the best shirt idea for a band with only white people in it. A pilgrim with a gun to a kneeling native’s head” and “F— MASTODON! Your bulls–t music isnt good enough to warrant a T-shirt much less one that depicts the white man killing indians! f— off eternally and dont let me see your ignorant ass at a show because youll regret it! pieces of s–t!I spit in your face! Racist cowards!”
Additionally, a fan who describes her heritage as ‘Indigenous’ wrote an open letter to Mastodon expressing her disappointment in the band’s decision to create “disturbing imagery that reinforces racist myths.”
However, Mastodon fans defended the band, ultimately outnumbering those protesting the shirt.
In response to the vitriol posted on Mastodon’s Facebook page, the band wrote a statement defending their decision to put out their Thanksgiving shirt:
Regarding our thanks giving shirt, whether you choose to believe or not, the American Indians were massacred by the white settlers who became the Americans we are today.
this shirt represents this atrocity and celebrating in the face of this atrocity is chilling.
we may have a sick sense of humor, but we are far from being “Racist” as some of you who might not get it are calling us.