What are the United States’ foundational myths? Who created them, and who do they erase and harm? For the past 52 years, United American Indians of New England (UAINE) and supporters have gathered on so-called Thanksgiving Day in Plymouth, Massachusetts, to ask these questions, confront settler mythologies and commemorate a National Day of Mourning for the Indigenous people murdered by settler colonialism and imperialism worldwide. The National Day of Mourning protest was founded by Wamsutta Frank James, an Aquinnah Wampanoag tribal member. In 1970, Wamsutta had been invited by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to give a speech at a banquet commemorating the 350th anniversary of the arrival of the Pilgrims.
Day of Mourning
Between the Atlantic Ocean and the Peconic Bay of Long Island, there is an isthmus known as Canoe Place. Thousands of years ago, the land was where the native Shinnecock tribe carried their canoes during travel. Today, the territory is surrounded by the glitzy luxury housing of the Hamptons. It is also the site of Sovereignty Camp 2020, where Indigenous Shinnecock activists have been demanding justice for their people since the beginning of November. The occupation is being led by the Warriors of the Sunrise, a group made up mostly of Shinnecock elders who are affectionately known by their community as “the Grandmothers.”