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National Day of Mourning

Since 1970, Native Americans have gathered at noon on Cole's Hill in Plymouth to commemorate a National Day of Mourning on the US thanksgiving holiday. Many Native Americans do not celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims and other European settlers. Thanksgiving day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native people, the theft of Native lands, and the relentless assault on Native culture. Participants in National Day of Mourning honor Native ancestors and the struggles of Native peoples to survive today. It is a day of remembrance and spiritual connection as well as a protest of the racism and oppression which Native Americans continue to experience.

46th National Day of Mourning: November 26, 2015
12:00 noon
Coles Hill Plymouth, MA

Would you or your friends like to help prepare dinner for National Day of Mourning? The volunteer kitchen crew needs help several days in advance, as well as during the events, and for set-up and clean-up. You don't have to miss the rally and march. It's a great way for newbies and solidarity folks to learn about or lend a hand at NDOM. Thanks for passing along this message. Email to info@uaine.org.

We will have a pot luck social following National Day of Mourning rally and march. Please bring juices, desserts and side dishes. Don’t bring food that still has to be cooked, but we can warm up cooked food. Drop off food at the downstairs social hall at First Parish in Plymouth UU church in the morning before you go to rally at noon.


2014 National Day of Mourning Flyer
2014 National Day of Mourning Orientation, PDF for printing. (See same info below.)

An annual tradition since 1970, Day of Mourning is a solemn, spiritual and highly political day. Many of us fast from sundown the day before through the afternoon of that day (and have a social after Day of Mourning so that participants in DOM can break their fasts). We are mourning our ancestors and the genocide of our peoples and the theft of our lands. NDOM is a day when we mourn, but we also feel our strength in political action. Over the years, participants in Day of Mourning have buried Plymouth Rock a number of times, boarded the Mayflower replica, and placed ku klux klan sheets on the statue of William Bradford, etc.

Thursday, November 27, 2014 (U.S. "thanksgiving" day) at Cole's Hill, Plymouth, Massachusetts, 12 noon SHARP. Cole's Hill is the hill above Plymouth Rock in the Plymouth historic waterfront area.

Yes, there will be a march through the historic district of Plymouth. Plymouth has agreed, as part of the settlement of 10/19/98, that UAINE may march on Day of Mourning without the need for a permit as long as we give the town advance notice.

Although we very much welcome our non-Native supporters to stand with us, it is a day when only Indigenous people speak about our history and the struggles that are taking place throughout the Americas. Speakers will be by invitation only. This year's NDOM is once again dedicated to our brother Leonard Peltier.

Please note that NDOM is not a commercial event, so we ask that people do not sell merchandise or distribute leaflets at the outdoor program. If you have literature to distribute, you are welcome to place it on a literature table at the social hall following the speak-out and march. Also, we ask that you do not eat (unless you must do so for medical reasons) at the outdoor speak-out and march out of respect for the participants who are fasting. Finally, dress for the weather! SOCIAL: There will be a pot-luck social held after the National Day of Mourning speak-out and march this year. Preference for first seatings will be given to Elders, young children and their mother/caretaker, pregnant women, Disabled people, and people who have traveled a long distance to join National Day of Mourning. Please respect our culture and our wish to ensure that these guests will be the first to be able to sit and eat. With this understanding in mind, please bring non-alcoholic beverages, desserts, prepared fresh fruit & vegetables, and pre-cooked entrée items (turkeys, hams, stuffing, vegetables, casseroles, rice & beans, etc.) that can be easily re-warmed at the social hall prior to the social. Our amazing kitchen crew makes great food, with plenty of vegetarian and vegan dishes, too, but if you have special dietary needs, please bring something that will suit you. Thank you.

Some supporters may be working to organize carpools from the Boston area. Please check the facebook event page for National Day of Mourning. We do not recommend MBTA service as it is limited and the Plymouth train stop is more than 2 miles away from where we gather.

Buses may be coming from the Solidarity Center, 147 W 24th St, 2nd floor, New York, NY. Call 212-633-6646 for more information.

Statement of Leonard Peltier to National Day of Mourning
11/26/98, Plymouth, Mass.

Greetings, Friends and Supporters.

Well, here we go with another holiday that America loves to celebrate, Thanksgiving Day. I know this has been said numerous times by many Native people of this country, but it is just not a day for many of us to celebrate. Although some things have improved on some reservations, there are an overwhelming number of us that have nothing to celebrate. These are the people who still have my concern, my hope and my love that things will get better. I'm talking about the people of Big Mountain, some of whom have already received their eviction notices. It's about the Western Shoshone, about the people all over this continent who are fighting for their treaty rights and sovereignty. It's about the people in Chiapas, the people in Central and South America who are being tortured and slaughtered every day. It is about the people whose stories we do not hear. The people who are resisting by simply surviving the "third world" conditions that they live under in the wealthiest nation on Earth.

As you gather today at this historic spot, remember those who struggled and gave their lives before you. Remember those who are in prison and those who are being tortured and denigrated today. Remember those who gave you the teachings that were handed down generation to generation. Remember as you continue the struggle for justice and equality in this land that is ours to caretake.

We need to reach out to the youth and embrace and encourage them to follow in our footsteps in order to continue the struggle. We are losing part of a generation of our young people to drugs and alcohol and consumerism. My time on this Earth is rapidly passing by and the young people must step in mine and the shoes of others who have fought this long hard struggle. I encourage and challenge you to educate yourself and your children in social concerns and the politics of the world. We have to remember that only true unity of all people will allow us to be successful and victorious in effecting change.

I also want to thank all of you who continue to sacrifice and work for my freedom. It is through your love and support that I make it through the hard times. And there have been many and I'm sure more to come.

Before I end, I ask you to remember our teachings. Thanksgiving is every day. Wake up and thank the Creator for a new day every day.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,
Leonard Peltier .

National Day of Mourning, 'No giving thanks for colonialism'
by Mahtowin Munro
Plymouth, Mass., Nov. 29, 2002

More than 500 people, from all the four directions, braved bitter cold to participate in the 33rd National Day of Mourning in Plymouth, Mass., on Nov. 28. The event is organized annually by United American Indians of New England (UAINE).

Native people from many nations were in attendance, as well as many non-Native supporters, providing a powerful demonstration of unity. The co-leaders of UAINE particularly acknowledged the presence of Palestinian supporters, noting that "Their struggle is one with our struggle."

According to Moonanum James, a Wampanaog and co-leader of UAINE, "Our very presence frees this land from the lies of the history books, the profiteers and the mythmakers. We will honor all peoples' ancestors in struggle who went before us."

Several of the speakers honored those who had died during the past year. All spoke of the true history of the European settlement of the Americas and the importance of teaching children that truth.

After a speak-out during which many speakers called for freedom for Native political prisoner Leonard Peltier, Day of Mourning participants marched through the streets of Plymouth. During a street rally that blocked traffic on the waterfront by Plymouth Rock, Raul Ruiz (Mexica), part of the Danza Azteca group that led the march, called upon participants to "crush the rock and all that it represents."

This annual Native American protest of the mythology surrounding the Pilgrims and "Thanksgiving" first occurred in 1970 after an attempt to suppress the truth.

Wamsutta Frank James, an Aquinnah Wampanoag man, had been invited to address a gathering sponsored by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts commemorating the 350th anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims.

Because Wamsutta was going to talk about how the coming of the Pilgrims and other European colonialists brought about the devastation of the Wampanoag and other Native peoples in the northeastern U.S., officials of Massachusetts demanded that he follow a script that they would provide.

Wamsutta refused, and as a result Native and non-Native people gathered in Plymouth and declared U.S. "Thanksgiving Day" a National Day of Mourning. UAINE and their supporters have gathered, in good or bad weather, every year since.

Sadly, the conditions of racism and poverty in Indian Country that prevailed in 1970 continue today. For example, as Moonanum James pointed out, "Many Native people are forced to choose every winter between heating and eating. As the economy crumbles and social programs are eliminated altogether, these conditions will only worsen."