National Day of Mourning
The vast amount of immigration and colonization in the United States has been documented by American history. This is more than European Imperialism. Native Americans, who have lost their homelands, recognize the need to grieve.
Participants have been organizing an annual protest known as the National Day of Mourning since 1970 to remember Native ancestors, and to commemorate their struggle to survive. The holiday falls on Thanksgiving but the purpose of the day is to inform people about Native American history.
The story of Thanksgiving is about the mutual benefit between Pilgrims, Native Americans. But this holiday shows a different side to history. This holiday was created by the United American Indians of New England to highlight the deceit and misrepresentation of Native Americans.
UANIE, a Native-led, self supporting organization advocating for recognition of Native Americans’ struggles and political prisoners is Native-led.
One Native’s experience was the inspiration for the day. Their website states that Wamsutta was an Aquinnah Wampanoag male who was asked to speak at a fancy Commonwealth of Massachusetts banquet to celebrate the 350th anniversary of Pilgrims landing. He requested a copy of the speech.
Wamsutta received a warning from a representative of Department of Commerce and Development within days that he wouldn’t be permitted to deliver the speech. UANIE has asked participants to participate in the National Day of Mourning since then to learn about the oppression and racism they suffered, as well as to honor those who have gone before them.
They have their main activity in Cole’s Hill, Plymouth. In an effort to understand the truth and misrepresentations of history throughout the generations, they invite speakers to speak and march through Plymouth.
The UANIE begins with a day fasting from sundown until the afternoon of the day to mourn. They then invite political speakers to speak and provide food for people who wish to break their fast. They then march through the entire district in protest.
Although it is held in New England, the message is intended for America and everyone can take part. It is held on Thanksgiving so while you and your family get together to make meals, you can also fast before the event to research Native American history.
It is focused on Native Americans but people of all races can join in the National Day of Mourning to mourn alongside them.