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National Day of Mourning

Carrying On Tradition Of National Day Of Mourning

Once again on so-called “Thanksgiving Day,” United American Indians of New England and our supporters are gathered on this hill to observe a National Day of Mourning for the Indigenous people murdered by settler colonialism and imperialism, from Turtle Island to Palestine. Today marks the 54th time we have gathered here to mourn our ancestors, tear down settler mythologies, and speak truth to power. The National Day of Mourning came into existence 53 “Thanksgivings” ago when my grandfather, an Aquinnah Wampanoag man named Wamsutta Frank James, was invited by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to speak at a banquet celebrating the 350th anniversary of the arrival of the Pilgrims.

My Grandfather Founded The National Day Of Mourning

On Thursday, millions of families across the United States will celebrate Thanksgiving without giving much thought to the truth behind the heavily mythologized and sanitized story taught in schools and promulgated by institutions. According to this myth, 400 years ago, the Pilgrims were warmly welcomed by the “Indians,” and the two groups came together in friendship to break bread. The “Indians” taught the Pilgrims how to live in the “New World,” setting the stage for the eventual establishment of a great land of liberty and opportunity.

52nd National Day Of Mourning To Be Observed In Plymouth

According to UAINE youth coordinator Kisha James, who is Aquinnah Wampanoag and Oglala Lakota and the granddaughter of Wamsutta Frank James, the founder of National Day of Mourning, “We Native people have no reason to celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims. We want to educate people so that they understand the stories we all learned in school about the first Thanksgiving are nothing but lies. Wampanoag and other Indigenous people have certainly not lived happily ever after since the arrival of the Pilgrims. To us, Thanksgiving is a Day of Mourning, because we remember the millions of our ancestors who were murdered by uninvited European colonists such as the Pilgrims. Today, we and many Indigenous people around the country say, ‘No Thanks, No Giving.’"
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